Xhorxhina Bami, Pristina, BIRN, July 6, 2020
Serbia-Kosovo talks are set to resume with a Franco-German-hosted virtual summit on July 10 followed by a meeting between Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on July 12 in Brussels.
The EU-facilitated Kosovo-Serbia dialogue will restart in July with a virtual summit hosted by France and Germany and a meeting between Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Alexandar Vucic in Brussels.
EU spokesperson Peter Stano confirmed the visit of Hoti and Vucic to Brussels on July 12 as a re-start of the stalled dialogue between Serbia and its former province, which declared its independence in 2008, Radio Free Europe, RFE, reported on Monday.
“The summit will be hosted by EU High Representative Josep Borrell in the presence of special envoy for dialogue Miroslav Lajcak,” RFE said, adding that the meeting will mark the re-launch of the dialogue on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia during which “all open issues” will be discussed.
According to RFE, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office has confirmed that, before the meeting in Brussels, France and Germany will hold a virtual summit on July 10 aimed at easing tension between the two countries, facilitated by Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The EU will be represented by Borrell in this meeting.
Vucic was due to meet his Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaci, together with Hoti, on June 27 in Washington, as well as the US envoy for the Kosovo- Serbia dialogue, Richard Grenell.
However, after the Kosovo Specialist Prosecution filed a ten-count indictment charging Thaci with war crimes and crimes against humanity on June 24, the US meeting was put on hold until further notice, sending the facilitation of the dialogue back to the EU.
US special envoy Grenell had told Kosovo local news outlet Gazeta Express that the US talks would focus on the economic aspects of a potential agreement, whereas the EU would lead on the political issues.
The French embassy in Kosovo tweeted on June 25 that France and Germany expected the dialogue to resume soon, and that German “Chancellor Merkel and President Macron remain ready to host a summit in Paris”. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the summit would now be held virtually.
Owing to the gravity of the charges against Thaci, EU officials have announced they no longer consider him a partner in the dialogue.
The EU-facilitated dialogue started in 2011. It was suspended in November 2018 after Kosovo imposed a 100-per-cent tariff on imports from Serbia and Bosnia.