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No Negotiations Over Border Changes, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Tells EU Envoy

No Negotiations Over Border Changes, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Tells EU Envoy

Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti has informed the newly appointed EU Special Representative for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue Miroslav Lajcak on principles Kosovo expects to be implemented during negotiations with Serbia, and of his plan for the country’s negotiating team.

In a letter sent on the day of Lajcak’s official appointment, Kurti reassures the envoy about Kosovo’s commitment to a continuous and uninterrupted dialogue aimed at reaching a final, comprehensive and legally binding agreement with Serbia.

Kurti draws his government’s principles in the letter:

– Kosovo and Serbia should agree to bring to the table all unsettled issues between them.

– They should ensure that under no circumstances or situations will the issue of mutual sovereignty, territorial integrity and internal affairs be discussed.

– It is essential for the dialogue not to involve maps on the table, or redrawing of borders.

– The dialogue should be mediated by the EU and US, who should both guarantee the full implementation of the signed agreement.

– Kosovo and Serbia should be supported by a package of political, economic and financial measures once the agreement starts implementation.

The acting prime minister also informs Lajcak that the Constitution requires him to form and lead the negotiation team, which Kurti has decided it will be inclusive and gender-balanced.

Head of the negotiation team will be the prime minister, who will lead nine members, including President Hashim Thaçi, Speaker of Parliament Vjosa Osmani, and seven other members, one from each parliamentary group in Kosovo (LVV, LDK, PDK, AAK-PSD, NISMA-AKR, Serb List and 6+ Group). The team will be supported by the best experts in the country.

“The dialogue should not be aimed at “face saving” or preserving the reputation of politicians […] It should be grounded on the principle of establishing justice and fairness for all. Evading this as the natural outcome of the dialogue would endanger the process itself,” Kurti states in the letter.

In his response, EU Special Envoy Miroslav Lajcak assures Kurti that he will work “tirelessly and dynamically”, and that he expects both sides to renew their commitment with the same determination.

Lajcak commended Kurti for lifting the tariffs on Serbian goods, calling it “a first concrete sign of willingness to engage in the EU Facilitated Dialogue.”

Although any meeting in the near future would be hardly possible due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lajcak said he would reach out to the political leadership in Kosovo soon to start cooperation before the dialogue resumes.

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