Serbia: German Foreign Ministry calls for the resumption of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue without delay

Serbia: German Foreign Ministry calls for the resumption of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue without delay

The resumption of the EU mediated political dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and other regional issues in the Western Balkans, should be carried out without delay, the German Foreign Ministry told “Blic”. At the same time, they said that the Kosovo Special Council enjoys the full support of the German Federal Government, but also that the international community, including Germany, clearly expects Kosovo to respect this commitment and support its work.

This is how Berlin has reacted to all the events that have taken place in recent days, regarding the relations between Pristina and Belgrade.

The dialogue between the two countries has stopped since November 8, 2018, when the representatives of the two sides met for the last time in Brussels. The interruption in the dialogue was caused by the import of tariffs on Serbian goods from Pristina, which were recently abolished. Meanwhile, a new player has stepped in to try to find a solution in Brussels, EU Special Representative for Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak, who has been taking action in recent weeks, so that representatives of Serbia and Kosovo can sit down again on the same table. However, the EU is not the only one working towards the resumption of the dialogue.

In addition to Brussels, US Special Envoy for Belgrade and Pristina Richard Grenell is working to reach an agreement, with the major step being the meeting that was supposed to be a meeting between the Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, on June 27 at the White House.

The effort was unsuccessful due to the announcement of the Special Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague, which sent to the Special Council of the Kosovo Assembly a demand to examine the charges against Thaci and former Assembly Speaker and current Democratic Party of Kosovo MP Kadri Veseli for “a series of charges for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, disappearance, persecution and torture”. The move led to the postponement of the scheduled meeting in Washington, as the trip was canceled first by Thaci and then by Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti.

This development has led, not without reason, to the suspicion that the time at which the indictments were sent for interrogation is not accidental, and that the EU has intervened to undermine US efforts to find a solution. Among the countries named in this context was Germany, as an outspoken opponent of the new demarcation talks, which were discussed as one of the possible solutions.

That’s why Blic has asked the German government for answers to questions about how they are commenting on allegations against Thaci and Veseli for questioning, whether the US talks were held in consultation with German officials, and also how they assess the allegations that this is an EU move to block the White House talks.

Answering these questions, the German Foreign Ministry’s press service sent a clear message to “Blic” that dialogue under the EU leadership should continue as soon as possible. But also that Berlin appreciates the efforts of the US government.

The resumption of the EU mediated political dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and other regional issues in the Western Balkans should take place without delay. We also appreciate the US government’s efforts to facilitate dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, the German Foreign Ministry’s press service told Blic, adding:

“We fully support the efforts of the European Union Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak to this end. The Special Council of Kosovo has been established by the Republic of Kosovo and enjoys the full support of the German Federal Government. The international community, including the German Federal Government, clearly expects Kosovo to respect this commitment and to support the work of the Kosovo Special Council.

It remains to be seen whether the allegations will be confirmed, and the dialogue, announced during Lajcak’s stay in Belgrade, will continue in July, following the EU-Western Balkans Summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

All eyes are on the next move of the EU, but also of the US, and the Director of the Forum on Ethnic Relations, Dušan Janjić, notes for “Blic” that it is useful to include both sides in the process, namely both Brussels and Washington.

“The dialogue will continue under the auspices of the EU, as a mediator. It is clear that preparations are underway for his revival, part of which is the arrival of Lajcak in Belgrade. At that time, he presented a new methodology of talks, which implies a different phase, and that the dialogue will be conducted exclusively on political issues. Well, Grenell is helpful in this regard, and Belgrade and Pristina will be wrong if they only decide on one side or the other. There is no reason for the US not to help, especially for the allocation of part of the money. Often both parties would like something and have no money. The EU agreed on things and gave money on occasion, Janjic noted./ibna