Quint ambassadors call for de-escalation in Kosovo

he ambassadors of the informal Quint decision-making group have urged for a “de-escalation of the crisis” in northern Kosovo. [EPA/KLAUS-DIETMAR GABBERT]

The ambassadors of the informal Quint decision-making group – including France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States – have urged for a “de-escalation of the crisis” in northern Kosovo. The request came in a Monday meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade, his office said in a press release.

The short press release read that Vučić had “laid out Serbia’s position” in the meeting with the US, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and the head of the EU Delegation of Serbia. “We are committed to preserving peace and to following the Brussels Agreement, but we will not allow Serbia or its citizens to be humiliated,” Vučić said.

EU’s lead foreign affairs spokesperson, Peter Stano, confirmed on Monday that the head negotiators in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue would arrive in Brussels in the next few days. He stressed that special police forces in northern Kosovo had to be immediately withdrawn and roadblocks removed to unconditionally defuse tension.

Stano noted that Borrell had spoken over the phone with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Premier Albin Kurti on Sunday.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić has said on Monday that the EU, at this point, “isn’t doing anything, or at least it might be doing very little” about Kosovo.

“I have nothing good to say about the conduct of Europe or the EU, and I do think that it [the Brussels agreement] is a matter for the EU to deal with. It’s their signature on the Brussels accords,” Brnabić said in an interview with Pink TV.

During a meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama spoke in support of Kosovo’s decision to require Serbian vehicles entering its territory to display temporary Kosovo number plates.

The meeting took place in Prishtina amid escalating tensions between Kosovo and Serbia. On Saturday, the civil registration office Zvečan and the car registration office in Zubin Potok were reportedly targeted with hand grenades, and arson respectively.

Addressing the media after their meeting, Rama spoke in support of Kurti’s decision. “The application of reciprocity is not only a norm in international relations, but it’s also an agreement reached between parties. He [Kurti] judged it right, and this position remains unchanged. The right is with Kosovo and not with Serbia,”

He described Serbia’s actions as “theatrical military manoeuvres.”

Rama said that parties should solve the problem through dialogue and that he had no contact with Serbian President Aleksander Vučić because, according to him, there is nothing to mediate.

Rama and Kurti also agreed to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries. Despite this pledge, Rama confirmed that he would be going ahead with the ‘Open Balkan’ initiative to see free trade and travel between Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia.

Kosovo has refused to take part due to Kurti’s belief it doesn’t recognise Kosovo’s sovereignty and would undermine possible EU integration.

(EURACTIV.rs | betabriefing.com and Alice Taylor)

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