Serbia and Kosovo pledge commitment to talks

Serbia and Kosovo pledged their commitment to the dialogue hosted by the European Union (EU) on Monday, after signing agreements with the United States on the normalization of their economic relations.

In a joint statement made by Aleksandar Vucic, president of Serbia, and Avdullah Hoti, the head of government of Kosovo, the two leaders confirmed to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell that they “attach the highest priority to EU integration” and to continuing the work on the EU-facilitated dialogue, which is “a key element of their respective EU paths.”

The two leaders reassured the pan-Europe body of their loyalty after they agreed in Washington last Friday on more than a dozen terms about expanding their economic cooperation.

Besides, U.S. President Donald Trump said that Serbia will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by next July and Kosovo and Israel have agreed to the normalization of ties.

Responding to media questions about the alignment with the EU’s positions on issues concerning Israel and Palestine, EU spokesman Peter Stano said “any diplomatic steps that could call into question the EU common position on Jerusalem are a matter of serious concern and regret.”

Stano said that Serbia is already negotiating its accession to the EU and is therefore expected to align progressively its policies with the third countries with the policies and positions adopted by the EU.

He told reporters that the EU had been informed ahead of Friday’s meeting about the economic issues but had not been informed about other issues tackled in the end.

In the joint statement on Monday, Vucic and Hoti said in Brussels that they are committed to “redoubling their efforts to ensure further EU alignment in accordance with their respective obligations.”

After issuing the statement, the two leaders entered the high-level meeting of the dialogue in person, hosted by Borrell and EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak.

Sensitive issues including arrangements for non-majority communities and the settlement of mutual financial claims and property were discussed. Expert level talks will continue next week.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia rejects it and considers Kosovo its own province.