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Albania And Kosovo Leaders Exchange Harsh Words about Mini Schengen Initiative

Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj stated that the “mini Schengen” initiative is a way to revoke the 100 percent tariffs his government imposed on Serbia one year ago. Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama replied by calling him an “ignorant” and “liar”.

Yesterday, four Balkan leaders renewed their pledge to reach an agreement to facilitate the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between participating countries. Kosovo refused to participate, citing Serbia’s animosity toward its statehood.

The third summit of leaders from Albania, Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro was held in Albania on Friday and Saturday, amidst protests against the initiative and the presence of Serbia’s President Alexandar Vucic.

Haradinaj replied to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s harsh comments after the summit regarding Kosovo’s refusal to participate in the initiative. Rama said that Kosovo excluded itself to its detriment, as the rest of the region has decided to cooperate for a common market.

“We don’t need a mini Schengen with Serbia as the capital. This is all done to revoke the tariff, a bypass to revoke the tariff,” Haradinaj said.

Rama replied by calling him a “liar” and “ignorant”.

A comment by a typical ignorant […] There are no obligations in this agreement. Mr. Haradinaj is a liar who has lied again; he lies due to ignorance or on purpose, I haven’t been able to find this out and I don’t plan to, but the truth is he is a liar.

There no conditions and no obligations. This initiative has the simple objective of implementing the agreements signed before between all countries.

Haradinaj replied that Rama could abolish the newly imposed fee for cars passing through the highway connecting Albania and Kosovo, if he cares about people in Kosovo.

“When Serbia recognizes us, we can pave the way for bilateral or trilateral meeting. But with Serbia’s denialism, including the denial of the Reçak massacre, we have nothing else to say but “have a good journey, without us”” he added.

Serbia has continuously lobbied to undermine Kosovo’s international recognition and membership in international organizations.

Earlier this month, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic sparked outrage in Kosovo when he described the 1999 Reçak massacre as “fabricated”. The Reçak massacre took place in the homonymous village of Kosovo in 1999, when Serbian forces killed 45 ethnic Albanian civilians. The massacre was one of the factors that led to the 1999 NATO bombing campaign which ended the bloody two-year war between Kosovo and Serbia.

The fourth “mini Schengen” summit will be held in February, in Belgrade, Serbia.

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