US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar said that all agreements between Belgrade and Pristina should be honored, including that on the establishing of the Community of Serb Municipalities.
Our position is that all earlier agreements should be implemented, including that on the establishing of the Community of Serb Municipalities. We would like to see a discussion on this issue when the two sides meet later this month, said Escobar, adding that this message was also conveyed to Kurti when he met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Escobar said he hopes some progress will be achieved at the August 18 meeting in Brussels, and that a permanent solution for the issue of vehicle license plates will be discussed, as well as other issues, such as the implementation of the energy road map, of the agreement on missing persons and of that on the establishing of the Community of Serb Municipalities.
This is not just a delay but an opportunity to create a permanent solution that will contribute to the integration and stability of the region. It is true that the previous solution was temporary and required that Serbia give a recommendation for a long-term solution. We are still hoping for that. However, we are also hoping for a broader discussion on how they could make progress towards better relations, on freedom of movement and greater EU integration, said the US official.
Asked to comment on the statements of Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani who believes that Russia is involved in creating tensions in north Kosovo, Escobar said that even though Russia is trying to play a role in the Balkans, this role is unimportant unlike the destabilizing factor of certain politicians and actors who are active within the Western Balkan region.
With very few exceptions, all that is happening in the Balkans is a result of factors that are in the Balkans. What is happening in the north is really an issue between Serbia and Kosovo. This is why it is very important for the two countries’ leaders to meet in Brussels for an EU-mediated dialogue and to work out their differences regarding the north. This would also include a permanent sustainable solution for the issue of license plates, the implementation of the energy road map, of the agreement on the missing persons and a discussion on the Community of Serb Municipalities. We should focus on problems that can be solved in the Western Balkans by means of diplomacy and constructive dialogue, said Escobar.
Answering an MP question, European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also recently said that Kosovo needs to fulfill its legal obligation and implement without delay the agreement envisaging the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities. EU representatives have said a number of times that they do not have the mechanisms to “force” the two sides to honor the signed agreements but that they only remind them of this obligation and of the fact that their progress on the EU path depends on the fulfillment of obligations.