On Wednesday, Envoys from the United States and European Union urged Serbia and Kosovo to progress EU-brokered negotiations, which aims to resolve the deep-rooted and long-term disagreements, which remains a bone of contention in the Balkans.
European Union’s special envoy, Miroslav Lajack, and the United States’ Deputy Assistant Secretary, Gabriel Escobar, concluded a three-day visit to Pristina, Kosovo, where they interacted with the local leaders as well as the international community.
“We both want to see Kosovo and Serbia turn the page, to leave the past behind and normalize relations,” Lajack said to a news conference before his departure to Belgrade, Serbia.
“The international community expected faster progress in the dialogue in 2021, and we hope this will be the case in 2022,” he added.
The Western Balkan Countries are at varying stages of integration with the E.U.
Kosovo announced independence in 2008 after a rigorous struggle with Serbia that killed more than 10,000 people; consequently, NATO had to intervene. Most of the E.U. nations and the U.S. recognize Pristina’s government. However, Belgrade has denied recognizing it as an independent state. As a result, Belgrade is dependent on Russia and China for their support to retain its claim on the lost territory.
Brussels declared to both the countries that they could not move forward with their efforts to join the E.U. before resolving their rift.
Since the beginning of the EU-brokered negotiations, Belgrade and Pristina agreed on various matters, including free travel and trade. However, they remained away from Kosovo’s independence.
Escobar announced that the U.S. administration supports Kosovo’s independence, integrity, and sovereignty. However, he also said that it depended on the two nations to smoothen their ties and that it “should be left to the dialogue.”