NEWS 31.01.2022 20:35

In an attempt to revive the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations, US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar said his country fully cooperated with the European Union and after meeting Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti added Washington fully supported Kosovo’s independence and territorial integrity.

„From an American perspective, I want to say that the US fully supports the independence and territorial integrity of Kosovo. You have shown that you are a solid partner, a good friend, and we thank you for that,“ he said, adding the dialogue under the EU auspices had his country’s full support.

Escobar added that „we see extraordinary opportunities for Kosovo and the region.“

He told a joint news conference with Kurti and the EU Special Envoy Miroslav Lajčák that they had worked with European partners to recognise the Western Balkans as a great opportunity, not a danger, and to encourage all parties to see the region as a potential future member.

Lajčák said he and Escobar were in Kosovo to send a clear message that the EU and the US cooperated and shared the vision of Kosovo, as well as a dialogue for the normalisation of relations with Serbia.

„We will continue the talks. We will stay here until Wednesday,“ Lajcak said, adding, „at this point, I want to say that we are happy to be here together.“

Kurti said that Kosovo officials informed the two envoys about reforms in the economy and judiciary and the Government’s efforts in the fight against crime and corruption.

Kurti added Kosovo was determined to respect and preserve its constitutionality, territorial integrity, sovereignty and legality.

During their visit to Kosovo, Lajčák and Escobar will have meetings with representatives of political parties, civil society, and Kosovo’s international community.

At the end of the visit, on February 2, they said they would hold a joint press conference.

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani told Escobar and Lajčák that Serbia was blocking progress in the dialogue. „It is already clear that Serbia is blocking progress in the dialogue with its unconstructive approach.“

The dialogue at the technical level continued in Brussels. Still, the main task for the two envoys seemed to be to prepare a new meeting between Kurti and Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, who had met twice but without any result.

Belgrade maintains Kosovo is a part of its territory, while Pristina refuses to form the Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM), claiming it doesn’t want „a new Republika Srpska (the Serb-dominated semi-autonomous region within Bosnia and Herzegovina) on its territory.“