NATO And EU Trying To Resolve Serbia-Kosovo Tensions
EU and NATO Led Meetings Fail To Resolve Balkan Anger
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci urged the EU and NATO on Thursday to warn Serbia against inciting a new conflict in Kosovo and the Balkans, but Serbia blamed Kosovo leaders for the failed agreements.
The Brussels meeting on Wednesday between the Serbian and Kosovo presidents and prime ministers was convened by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. The meeting finished abruptly with no further plans. Serbian premier Aleksandar Vucic blamed Kosovo’s leaders for the failed talks. “They don’t want any agreement,” Vucic said of Kosovo’s leaders.
He also accused the EU of lacking the courage to say who was undermining the Kosovo-Serbia agreements.
“Who first came out with statements – [Kosovo President Hashim] Thaci and [Prime Minister Isa] Mustafa, or Vucic? So, why didn’t you say so? You don’t have the courage to say who violated [the agreements],” Vucic said towards EU official.
On his visit to Kosovo on Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged Kosovo and Serbia to normalize their relations.
“We are committed to continue to stay here with a significant force,” Stoltenberg said. “This is a very clear signal of our commitment to make sure that Kosovo is a safe and secure place.”
Today, thousands of NATO-led troops continue to control Kosovo’s territory since a three-month air war in 1999.
Early this year relations between Belgrade and Pristina strained dramatically, when Serbia sent a train painted in the colors of the Serbian flag and bearing the words “Kosovo is Serbia” in 21 languages from Belgrade to Kosovo. Design of the train caused criticism from society and authorities. The train was stopped in Raska, just before the Kosovo border, after which Vucic accused the Kosovo government of trying to blow up the railway line. Kosovo dismissed the claim.
Pristina has denounced the train incident was a serious provocation, challenging Kosovo’s territorial sovereignty and again urged the European Union to intervene.