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Dialogue Meeting Ends In Standstill As Serbia Refuses Peace Deal With Kosovo

Dialogue Meeting Ends In Standstill As Serbia Refuses Peace Deal With Kosovo

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The second dialogue meeting between the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia has yielded no agreement on contested issues.

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti said his counterpart, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, refused a 6-article peace agreement proposed by Kosovo, and also rejected a proposal for Serbia to lift 11 barriers on Kosovo goods. 

In a statement after the meeting, Kurti claimed Serbia had refused to include the words “deal with the past” in a joint document, despite the EU diplomats being in favor of it. 

Vucic was a minister in the genocidal regime of President Slobodan Milosevic when Serbia waged wars against states and provinces trying to break up from Yugoslavia during the ‘90s.

Kurti was also refused three books presented to the Serbian leader as a gift: one with recounts of Kosovo women raped by Serbian troops during the war, one containing the names of 1,133 children killed by Serbian troops and the names of 109 more children whose bodies are missing, and finally a book describing the ethnic cleansing against Albanians from Serbia’s Nis city.

“Serbia came amongst the Albanian population with genocide, and left with genocide. Its refusal to acknowledge its criminal past and its refusal to recognize Kosovo’s independence are closely related,” Kosovo’s prime minister stated. He stressed the region’s need for justice, security and stability, and Kosovo’s government’s will to continue with dialogue in a constructive way.

On his part, the Serbian leader stated that Kurti had accused Serbia of committing 3 genocides against Albanians, starting from “150 years ago” and ending with the 1999 war between the two countries. Vucic said this was another attempt to push Serbia to recognize Kosovo, and that EU diplomats “could not believe what they were hearing” when Kurti accused Serbia of genocide.

However, he said the two sides agreed on 3 points facilitated by the EU: to intensify work on finding the missing persons, to refrain from escalating tensions and to continue with the dialogue. Similar promises on these topics have appeared throughout the 10 years of dialogue.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, following a brutal war waged by Serbia in 1998-1999, which left thousands of Kosovo civilians killed. Since 2011, the two countries have engaged in a dialogue facilitated by the European Union to “normalize relations”. The most important topic, i.e. Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo, has never been discussed in the dialogue.

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