Archive photo of Petar Petkovic, Miroslav Lajcak, Besnim Bislimi in Brussels, November 2022. Photo: Twitter/Miroslav Lajcak

Serbia, Kosovo Discuss Establishing Serb Municipalities Body

Representatives of Serbia and Kosovo met in Brussels to talk about establishing the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities in northern Kosovo as part of the recent agreement between the two countries’ leaders.

Serbia and Kosovo on Tuesday discussed the initial steps for establishing the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities in Kosovo at a meeting in Brussels between the ‘technical level’ negotiators in the Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue process, Petar Petkovic and Besnik Bislimi.

The meeting came just over two weeks after the leaders of the two countries, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, agreed in the North Macedonia town of Ohrid on an implementation plan for an agreement they reached at the end of February to break the deadlock on their longstanding political dispute.

Petkovic and Bislimi met EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak in Brussels on Tuesday, first separately and then at a joint meeting. After the meetings, Petkovic said that “today for the first time we discussed the most concrete steps for the formation of the Association of Serbian Municipalities”.

He added that “in accordance with the agreements [between Belgrade and Prishtina] from 2013 and 2015 it was clearly established that the first step in the formation of the Association of Serbian Municipalities is the presentation of the draft statute prepared by the management team within the framework of a high-level dialogue”, Radio-Television Serbia reported.

Bislimi said that there was “initial consent” that the next meeting between Serbian President Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti will be on April 22, but because “there are indications that the president of Serbia is not ready or he can’t come on this date”, the meeting might be rescheduled.

At the meeting, a draft plan for the team that will manage the process of setting up the association could be presented, Bislimi added.

According to the 2013 Implementation Plan of the Agreement on the Normalisation of Relations between Belgrade and Pristina, “the two parties will create a Management Team for the establishment of the Association/Community”, with terms of reference which include producing a draft statute.

This team should be composed of representatives from Kosovo’s four northern Serb-majority municipalities and established after being endorsed by the Kosovo authorities.

Both negotiators also said on Tuesday that the two sides assented to an agreement on missing persons, which will be presented at the Vucic-Kurti meeting.

Bislimi also said they discussed other issues such as “mutual recognition of diplomas”.

Vucic and Kurti last month verbally agreed a deal on implementing an EU-backed plan for the normalisation of ties. Establishing the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities according to a prior agreement from 2013 formed part of the deal.

and 05/04/2023 - 11:58

05 April 2023 - 11:58

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.