The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo held their first face-to-face talks in 20 months

Brussels, 16-07-2020

On 16 July 2020, the first meeting at the expert level within the political dialogue on the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo has been held in Brussels.

EU special envoy Miroslav Lajcak, who is mediating the talks, said the two sides focused on the issues of missing and displaced persons as well as economic cooperation. He urged both Belgrade and Pristina to work with the International Committee of the Red Cross to resolve the issue of missing persons to foster reconciliation. Economic cooperation “is one of the backbones of the European Union,” and will improve living standards and create jobs in Kosovo and Serbia, he said.

Hoti emerged from the meeting saying progress had been made in dialogue but that it was a difficult meeting. “I have presented our position in this meeting and I will never move from that position. This is the final phase of concluding open issues with Serbia,” Hoti said, adding that the whole process would take weeks or months, but no more. “We are in the final phase of concluding a final agreement with Serbia,” he said.

The Serbian leader said he wanted to solve the outstanding disputes with Kosovo. “But it is obvious that the differences are too big at the moment, concerning all important and strategic matters,” Vucic said. “They would like to solve (everything) overnight, with an attempt to make Serbia accept everything they want.” He also stated that during the meeting, Kosovo demanded that the archives of the Serbian police be opened, and Serbia on the other hand demanded that Kosovo open the archives of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Earlier, EU foreign policy Chief Josep Borrell, who is chairing the Brussels talks with Lajcak, called on both sides to approach dialogue “in the spirit of compromise and pragmatism and with the European future for their people in Kosovo and Serbia in their minds.”

Technical-level talks will continue next week among officials.

The new push at dialogue comes as war-crimes prosecutors in The Hague on July 16 ended four days of questioning Kosovar President Hashim Thaci. The charges against him led to the postponement of a planned June 27 White House summit between Thaci and his Serbian counterpart.

RadioFreeEurope – Leaders Of Kosovo and Serbia Agree To Continue Talks After First In-Person Meeting in 20 Months