After meeting with Hashim Thaci in Brussels, President Aleksandar Vucic said that “talks have been opened on long-term relations between Serbs and Albanians.”
During the meeting, hosted by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Vucic said that he also raised the issue of the recent arrest in Kosovo of Bogdan Mitrovic, an elderly displaced Serb.
Concerning concrete issues that are already a part of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, the agreement on the judiciary has been confirmed, the opening of the bridge on the Ibar River (in Kosovska Mitrovica) has been announced, and it has been concluded that, regarding the establishment of the Community of the Serb Municipalities, Pristina did not make any progress, Vucic told journalists in Brussels after the informal breakfast.
The president also stressed that “resolving historical relations between the Serbs and Albanians” would be mean a great deal to both Belgrade and Pristina – and that the talks would continue, although, he pointed out, “nobody is too big of an optimist.”
Nevertheless, Vucic continued, “we see a small chance of resolving the historical issue between Serbs and Albanians, and we need to use it.”
“It’s worth a try, for the sake of future,” Vucic said.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Federica Mogherini said that Vucic and Thaci “followed up on their commitment from the last meeting on July 3 where they agreed to start working on a new phase of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina for normalization of relations and reconciliation,” adding, “work on this will continue in the coming weeks.”
“Both sides today agreed the final steps for the implementation of the justice agreement reached within the EU facilitated dialogue. The presidents confirmed that the agreement will be fully implemented on October 17, 2017. On that day, judges, prosecutors and judicial staff will be integrated into the Kosovo judiciary. The integration of the judicial personnel will allow for justice to be delivered across Kosovo and, in particular, in Mitrovica region,” the statement said, and concluded:
“The high representative welcomed the renewed commitment by both presidents to the process. She reiterated that the EU and she personally is fully committed to the European Union perspective of Serbia, Kosovo and the entire region and that progress by both sides is firmly linked to progress in the dialogue.”