The recent increase of inflammatory rhetoric between officials of Kosovo and Serbia, in particular, the statements about war and conflict in the Western Balkans are of great concern and senior politicians of the two parties will be held responsible for any escalation that could lead to increased tensions or violence in the region, the European External Action Service (EEAS) said in a statement on Sunday.
“Both Parties must immediately put an end to mutual hostilities and dangerous statements and act responsibly,” it said.
The statement stressed that all open issues between Serbia and Kosovo will be addressed through the EU-facilitated Dialogue on normalisation of relations and that the EU expects the two leaders to “discuss these challenging topics” at the next High-level Dialogue between President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti on 18 August in Brussels.
“Reaching a comprehensive legally binding agreement on full normalisation of relations in the context of the EU-facilitated Dialogue requires a climate that contributes to restoring trust, reconciliation and good relations, whereby past agreements are respected and fully implemented, and where actions and statements which are not compatible with the overall interest and strategic objectives of the region have no place,” the statement said.
“The EU, including through its civilian mission EULEX, remains in close coordination with KFOR and international partners, particularly the United States of America,” it said.
There has been an increase in incendiary statements by high-ranking politicians from Belgrade and Pristina as of recently, provoked by Kosovo’s decision to start implementing reciprocity measures with Serbia regarding license plates and personal documents. Due to the pressure of the international community, the decision was postponed, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated that the situation for the Serbs in Kosovo has never been more complicated. Vucic urged the Albanians, the international community and the Serbs from Kosovo to preserve the peace.
„If they don’t want to keep the peace, I am saying – Serbia will win,“ he said.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti told Reuters on August 10 that it would be irresponsible to rule out the possibility of rising tensions and new conflicts, taking into account, as he said, Belgrade’s aggressive policy.