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The US-EU tightens the loop around Kosovo and Serbia, Escobar "lands" in Serbia, meets Vucic and seeks an agreement in Ohrid to implement the "Franco-German" plan
Written by Elmas Bogdani 16 Mars 2023
The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, and the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, are expected to meet in Ohrid, North Macedonia on March 18, to discuss the implementation of the EU's 11-point plan. After the visit of the high official of the EU, Lajcak, the Americans have also "landed" in the Balkans. Before this meeting, the United States of America has given clear messages to Belgrade and Pristina. Yesterday, the US special emissary for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, met the president of Serbia. The American diplomat expressed the hope that Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandër Vucic will quickly reach an agreement on the implementation of all that is required by the European Union and the USA. Vucic thanked the USA for the support they give to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, as well as for the commitment when it comes to the security and protection of the Serbian people in Kosovo and the formation of the Union of Serbian Municipalities. "An open and fair conversation with the American representative. I believe in the further improvement of relations between Serbia and the USA", wrote Vucic on Instagram. The US announced that the Americans fully support the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with the mediation of the European Union, as well as that the special envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, is traveling to the region to support this process. Meanwhile, President Vucic announced that he will deliver an important speech on Thursday afternoon about international visits and the Ohrid meeting. So, after Belgrade, the US special envoy for the Western Balkans will continue his tour with a visit to Pristina.
The American ambassador in Kosovo reacts
On the other hand, the American ambassador in Pristina, Jeff Hovenier, said yesterday that the European plan for the normalization of Kosovo-Serbia relations is a temporary agreement that ensures a better 'status quo' between the parties, which should take advantage of this opportunity. which he called extraordinary. Ambassador Hovenier made these comments in a meeting with a group of journalists in Pristina, on the eve of Saturday's talks in Ohrid, North Macedonia between Kosovo and Serbia. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and the President of Serbia, who last month said yes to a plan supported by the United States, will discuss the roadmap for its implementation to turn it into an interim agreement for the normalization of relations between both countries. "I want to be clear that the United States does not see a better deal at this time. This is an important step forward. It's a tremendous opportunity that advances regional stability and puts Kosovo-Serbia relations on a much better 'status quo,'" said American Ambassador Hovenier.
Detaje nga plani
Edhe pse nuk thuhet publikisht, plani evropian nënkupton njohje të ndërsjellë, pasi kërkon që palët të respektojnë pavarësinë, sovranitetin dhe tërësinë tokësore të njëra-tjetrës. Kryeministri Kurti tha se ishte i gatshëm të nënshkruajë planin që më 27 shkurt në Bruksel, por kjo nuk ndodhi meqë pala serbe nuk ishte e kishte gatishmëri për një gjë të tillë. Presidenti serb, tha se një nga pikat e planit nënkupton që Serbia do të pajtohej me anëtarësimin e Kosovës në Kombet e Bashkuara dhe për këtë arsye nuk ishte i gatshëm të nënshkruaj.
"It is an interim agreement and the United States stands by its position that it expects a final agreement that will ultimately be centered on mutual recognition. This is the goal and this agreement brings us much closer," he said. The American ambassador in Pristina drew attention to the broad Western consensus about the plan and the support of the United States to Kosovo's integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures. If the agreement is reached in Ohrid, then he said, we will see the renewal of the American commitment to the fulfillment of this goal.