Belgrade, 13 August 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Germany, France, Italy, Britain and the United States on Tuesday jointly urged Serbia and breakaway province Kosovo to restart their stalled normalization dialogue and produce a binding agreement in the interest of regional stability.
The five big NATO countries – the Quint – said in a joint statement that they “aim to see the full normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia via a comprehensive, politically sustainable, and legally binding agreement.”
Serbia and predominantly Albanian Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, are in a state of perpetual tension, which has blocked EU-brokered efforts towards normalization.
The talks have produced several agreements, but little of those has been implemented.
“The status quo prevents progress on Kosovo’s and Serbia’s path towards the European Union (EU) and is simply not sustainable,” the Quint warned, saying it was time “to finally end the conflicts of the 1990s.”
“We call on Kosovo and Serbia to restart the EU-led dialogue … and ask that both parties avoid actions that will hinder a final agreement,” it said.
The two sides need to signal the will to make a compromise, it said. “For Kosovo, that means suspending the tariffs imposed on Serbia,” and “for Serbia, that means suspending the de-recognition campaign against Kosovo.”
Pristina imposed tariffs on imports from Serbia in November in response to Belgrade’s campaign against Kosovo’s entry into the Interpol and other international organizations.
Most Western countries recognized Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia continues to claim sovereignty over the territory. Backed by Russia, it is also blocking Kosovo from UN membership.