US, EU envoys: All agreed between Belgrade and Pristina must be implemented

NEWS 03.02.2022 18:32
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Source: Tanjug/ Strahinja Aćimović

The Special Representative of the European Union, Miroslav Lajčák, and the American envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, told reporters on Thursday they said in both Belgrade and Pristina that everything agreed should be fulfilled.

„Everything that has been agreed must be implemented and will be implemented, and that is part of the process that should take place parallel with the negotiations on the legally binding agreement,“ Lajčák said.

Escobar added that the US position was that the Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM) should be discussed.

„We do not have a vision of how this should be realised, it is on both sides to discuss in a dialogue supported by the EU, but we will support every agreement – politically, financially and technically,“ Escobar told reporters in Belgrade.

Asked about the voting of Serbia's citizens on Kosovo's territory on April 3, Escobar said that all people in the region should vote openly, freely and easily in elections in which they had the right to vote.

Pristina banned the local Serbs from voting in Serbia's January 16 referendum on Kosovo's territory. Some signals from Pristina suggest that it may ban the vote in Serbia's elections due on April 3 as well.

Lajčák added that it was up to the two sides to reach a consensus on modalities.

He said a lot had been done, and that he was optimistic before the next round of dialogue between Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

"Both Pristina and Belgrade have confirmed, and it is clear what the outcome will be, and it is clear to everyone, there is no doubt," Lajcak said.

He added that "we welcome Serbia's commitment to dialogue and - this was repeated by all our interlocutors yesterday and today," including Vucic.

"As you know, the dialogue is linked to the concrete prospects for EU integration. I had a good conversation with civil society representatives and I am grateful for their ideas and recommendations," Lajčák added.

Escobar said that this was his first stay in Serbia in this role and that it was very important to express "the EU and US unity and solidarity in the belief that the Balkans should be part of the European community. We believe that the path of Serbia and Kosovo towards that is in dialogue."

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"Our position is that everything agreed in the dialogue must be implemented, and that is the message we conveyed in Pristina," he said.

Speaking about Serbia's forthcoming elections, Lajčák said that people should have the right to participate in democratic processes in which they had the right to vote, and "we conveyed that to our partners in Pristina. There is a well-established democratic practice that allows people to vote even if they live elsewhere."

"When it comes to the resumption of the dialogue, both Vucic and Kurti have repeatedly said they are willing to come to Brussels when invited. They are both committed to the process; they understand how important it is and the citizens' expectations. Remember that we said we wanted the third meeting to bring concrete results process and progress after two meetings last year. In the meantime, I have been involved in diplomatic processes with both Pristina and Belgrade, and today I can already say that I am optimistic. I never run away from personal responsibility, but let me say that this is an EU-mediated dialogue; the owners of the dialogue are Belgrade and Pristina... we need to help them speed up the integration process. I cannot force them to participate in the dialogue if they do not want to. I am ready to do what is my job; we are not setting the plan," Lajčák said.

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