With yet another round of negotiations scheduled for today (April 4), a spectre of doubt—if not exhaustion—appears to have crept in with regard to real progress in the “normalization” of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
As well as pessimism.
“Serious torture” is how the schedule talks are viewed by none other than Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, at least as stated to Serbian television/government PR channel TV Pink.
Vucic made the comments only one day before scheduled meetings with Kosovo representatives, and considering past talks with the arguably bellicose Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, it is difficult not to see his point. Vucic continued on April 3 to express doubt that any agreement can be signed with Pristina, claiming that Kosovo has been insincere in the past.
For this part, Kurti has sharply criticized the Serb government, and in the past he has labelled ethnic Serbs in North Kosovo as criminals and claimed that Russian mercenaries aligned with the infamous Wagner Group have backed ethnic Serbs in Kosovo and manned barricades during past protests.
For their part, Serbs in North Kosovo have cried harassment by Kosovo police forces and refused to comply with attempts to force them to acquire Kosovo license plates, a move seen as attempting to force Serbia and Serbians to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Meanwhile, only last week a few cars that had switched to Kosovo plates were burned by a local Serb who is now under arrest.
Against that background, April 4 talks were seen as being off-limits to the press, although comments by both sides are clearly expected. What is not expected is real progress, as—despite vague statements mostly by Brussels representatives—no agreement or annex has been signed, although the sides have ostensibly agreed to keep talking.
Which is something. Perhaps serious torture, but still something.
Photo byGuelland/ MSC, CC BY 3.0 DE <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/de/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons.