Implementation of last month’s general agreement to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia continues to look at least as difficult as predicted, with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic continuing to reference the non-existent Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM), which should have been created following EU-brokered agreements between the two states in 2013-2014.
“Reiterating Serbia’s unchanged position in regard to maintaining peace and stability in the region and resolving open questions between Belgrade and Pristina with focus on the full implementation of agreements signed to date and preserving state and national interests,” Vucic was reported as stating via government press release, as cited by the news site n1info.rs.
The statement came following discussions March 15 with US Envoy Gabriel Escobar, in apparent attendance with US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill. During that meeting Vucic was reported as being positive with regard to US-Serbian relations, and this was repeated during an Instagram post. Vucic also referenced the CSM in the previously mentioned press release while thanking the US for support in this matter.
Interestingly, the meetings—and the harping back to the CSM issue—came at a time when Serbia and Kosovo are scheduled to discuss annexes to the February agreement to normalize relations between the two states on Saturday, March 18. These annexes are seen as keys to the implementation of the February 27 agreement, which Serb nationalists, opposition members and many within the current ruling Serbian government, headed by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, have criticized as de facto recognizing Kosovo as an independent state with Serbia getting little in return.
Moreover, the meetings with Escobar came on the same day that EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak highlighted the importance of implementation, stating that this would limit Russian interference in the region.
Current EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton back when he was foreign minister for the Slovak Republic. Photo courtesy of State Dept Photo by Michael GrossUSDepOfState, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.