The Foreign Ministers of Serbia and Kosovo, Ivica Dacic and Behgjet Pacolli, told the Bled Security Forum that Belgrade-Pristina relations need to be normalized and added that they expect Matthew Palmer, Washington‘s new envoy for the Western Balkans to play a positive role in restarting their dialogue.
Speaking at the Forum on Tuesday, Palmer said that he believes there is room to reach an agreement to resolve the issue in the time after the new Kosovo government is formed and the elections in Serbia next spring.
Dacic told the gathering that Belgrade expects the conditions to be created to continue the dialogue once the new government is formed in Pristina and after it takes “certain steps”. According to him, a lot will depend on the stand of the new European Union High Representative and the way in which the dialogue is moderated. “We are prepared to act quickly and be constructive,” he said.
His Kosovo counterpart Pacolli stressed the need for peace and voiced the expectation that Palmer would do a lot for Serbia and Kosovo. “We have a small syndrome in the Balkans – we need someone to talk to us a little louder,” he said. Palmer told the meeting that his goal is to stabilize the situation in the region.
Palmer said that America and the State Department have demonstrated responsibility for the signals coming from the region by appointing a special envoy. “My goal is to travel around the region and work with our allies and partners on some fundamental goals such as rule of law, freedom of the media and transparency of government,” he said.
The KoSSev news portal quoted Palmer as saying that there is some space to reach an agreement between the time that the new Kosovo government is formed and the elections in Serbia. “We have no time to loose, we have to use every opportunity,” he said, adding that he expects the new Kosovo government to be a strong partner in favour of the dialogue, that it will revoke the tariffs and work hard to reach an agreement. “We also hope that we can convince Ivica (Dacic) and President (Aleksandar) Vucic that the campaign to withdraw recognition (of Kosovo) is counterproductive,” Palmer said.