Longer 'frozen conflict' if Serbia talks fail: Kosovo president

12:57 | 03/10/2018
Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci warned Tuesday (Oct 2) that a failure to seize the momentum in fragile talks with Serbia could lead to another decade of "frozen conflict".
longer frozen conflict if serbia talks fail kosovo president
"It is a must to reach a peaceful agreement between Kosovo and Serbia that will bring lasting peace between the two countries," said Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci AFP/Emmanuel DUNAND

Thaci was addressing journalists at the World Economic Forum in Geneva following a meeting on western Balkan economic integration that included Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and leaders from across eastern Europe.

"It is a must to reach a peaceful agreement between Kosovo and Serbia that will bring lasting peace between the two countries," Thaci said.

Serbia refuses to recognise Kosovo, an Albanian-majority former southern province that broke away from the then Yugoslav republic in a bloody war in 1998-99 and declared independence a decade later.

Thaci and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic this summer signalled an openness to "border adjustments" aimed at resolving the longstanding feud.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Pristina on Saturday to protest Thaci's proposed land-swap.

On Tuesday, Thaci chastised his opponents by arguing that the status quo was not sustainable.

"Those who have criticised these efforts have failed to give any alternatives," he said.

Brnabic underscored that Serbia was committed to pursuing regional stability as it was key to the country's economic growth.

But she dismissed any notion that Belgrade might recognise Kosovo's independence.

"We will recognise Kosovo for what it is, the autonomous province of the Republic of Serbia. It is not an open question," Brnabic said.

Thaci and Vucic had planned to meet in Brussels last month for talks led by the European Union, but the meeting fell apart at the last minute.

Serbia needs a deal with Pristina to move forward in EU accession talks, while Kosovo is hoping that recognition from Belgrade will free its path into the United Nations.

Kosovo is recognised by more than 110 countries, but outliers include Russia, China and five EU countries, including Spain, which does not want to set an independence precedent for its own regions.

AFP

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