- Haradinaj: Border changes were not discussed in Berlin meetings (media)
- Thaci: Dialogue to continue unconditioned, agreement possible this year (media)
- Scott: Frozen conflict brings no stability, dialogue should resume (RTK)
- Dacic: There will be no Paris summit if Kosovo doesn’t lift tax (Zeri)
- Selimi: Border issue has not been taken off table of talks (Koha)
- EU Council concerned over lack of progress in Kosovo-Serbia relations (Koha)
Kosovo Media Highlights
Haradinaj: Border changes were not discussed in Berlin meetings (media)
Upon return from Berlin where he met German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as other senior officials, Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj said the visit has given an impetus to visa liberalisation as Germany’s support can also encourage other countries to support the process.
He also said that Kosovo’s relations with Germany have risen to a new level and denied the border changes idea being discussed in his meetings in the German capital.
“The Berlin meeting closed the topic of territories and this was not picked up on this occasion and will not be discussed any more”, Haradinaj said. He noted that Chancellor Merkel did not ask him to rescind the tariff on Serbian imports and that this should not be seen as an obstacle to continuation of dialogue.
Thaci: Dialogue to continue unconditioned, agreement possible this year (media)
Speaking at the Globsec conference in Slovakia, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said the dialogue should continue unconditioned.
“I reiterate one more time that Serbia must implement the agreements and obligations taken upon, weather in the energy sector or in the IBM. Also, not to hinder the Serbs in the North to functionalise the bridge which is dividing the city and its people,” said Thaci as quoted in a statement issued by his office. He also said that Kosovo on its part will fulfill obligations under the 2013 Brussels Agreement.
“At the same time, Serbia must not prevent Kosovo’s ethnic Serbian citizens to participate at the team writing the statute of the responsibilities we took upon ourselves in Brussels,” he said adding that the opportunities for continuation of dialogue were also discussed in debate with Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
“The debate with Presidents Djukanovic and Vucic was, I think, in the spirit of a discussion, a search for dialogue continuation opportunities, overcoming of obstacles and difficulties which condition the dialogue and to be able to achieve a final, historic and comprehensive agreement which will conclude with a mutual recognition between the state of Kosovo and Serbia. Irrespective of critics and skeptics, the dialogue has no alternative.”
At the same time, online media are quoting Thaci as accusing Serbia of hindering dialogue. “We want an agreement with Serbia that would bring mutual recognition, without borders along ethnic lines. We want an agreement that would bring a UN membership for Kosovo and the recognition of five EU states, including Slovakia,” he said.
“I believe this agreement can be reached this year,” Thaci stressed adding: “However, an agreement cannot be achieved with all this obstructive approach from Serbia.” He said the Paris Summit will be a very good opportunity to make concrete steps towards renewal of dialogue.
Scott: Frozen conflict brings no stability, dialogue should resume (RTK)
The U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, told Belgrade paper Danas that a frozen conflict between Kosovo and Serbia is not an option that brings stability and that the U.S. support the EU-facilitated dialogue and wants to see the parties return to the negotiating table.
“We now have a type of a frozen conflict whereby the negotiating process is truly frozen and nothing is happening towards an agreement being achieved,” Scott said.
He added that the U.S. has made it clear from the outset that it considers Kosovo’s import tariff on Serbia not to be useful and an obstacle to the resumption of talks.
“The customs tax shows the difficulties of progress in a situation of mutual mistrusts between the conflicting parties. At the same time, efforts to shift the responsibility of the inability of an agreement being reached to Berlin, Paris, Moscow, Brussels, Washington, or Beijing, is not the right approach,” the U.S. diplomat said.
Dacic: There will be no Paris summit if Kosovo doesn’t lift tax (Zeri)
Serbian Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic, is quoted by Tanjug as saying that there will be no Paris Summit in July if the government of Kosovo gives no signals about lifting the tax on Serbian products. Dacic said that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron will not allow Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj “to lead them by the nose.”
Dacic said Serbia will be ready to engage in dialogue the moment authorities in Pristina lift the tax. “We are ready for compromise, we want an agreement. If the other side doesn’t want this, we cannot go against national and state interests,” he said.
Selimi: Border issue has not been taken off table of talks (Koha)
Rexhep Selimi, Vetevendosje MP, said in an interview with KTV that the border change option has not been entirely taken off the table of negotiations as presidents of Kosovo and Serbia, Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vucic, are continuing to meet.
“For as long as presidents of Serbia and Kosovo don’t give up on the plan, we cannot afford to be comfortable. In the declarative aspect there have manipulations on the part of Thaci until now but we cannot allow this plan to be implemented,” Selimi said.
EU Council concerned over lack of progress in Kosovo-Serbia relations (Koha)
European Union ministers are expected to discuss the future of the enlargement process at their upcoming meeting on 18 June in Luxembourg, Koha Ditore reports.
It says the only dilemma of the meeting is whether it will give a green light for accession negations to begin with Albania and North Macedonia because as far as Kosovo is concerned, it is more or less certain what message will come out of the meeting as the draft conclusions have already been prepared.
EU ministers are expected to reaffirm their criticism over the level of organized crime and corruption in Kosovo as well as politicisation of public services. They will hail Kosovo Assembly’s adoption of certain legislation and will also call on the revocation of the import tariff on Serbia to pave way for progress in normalisation of relations.