Kosovo's Kurti and Serbia's Brnabic Trade Barbs in Tirana Summit on Western Balkans

The Summit of Western Balkan leaders held in Albanian Capital Tirana on Thursday turned into a scene of clashes between the PM of Kosovo Albin Kurti and his Serbian counterpart Ana Brnabic.

In his address at the event in the presence Serbian government head Ana Brnabic, Kurti asked reviewing of the regional trade agreement CEFTA, namely representation of Kosovo as an independent state. Kosovo is represented under UNMIK’s flag in this regional trade deal.

Kurti also called on Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

In her right of reply Serbian Prime Minister Brnabic answered Kurti saying that current format of CEFTA is functioning well and there are no legal grounds to change it because as she said “Kosovo is part of Serbia.”

Brnabic went further in the debate telling Kurti that five EU member states do not recognize Kosovo and Kosovo is not member of the UN adding that this is the reason for not changing the regional trade deal, according to media in Belgrade.

Kurti responded by asking rhetoricaly Brnabic with a question: “What are you intending to do, invade us?".

At this juncture Brnabic retorted by asking ironically: “How can we invade our own territory?”

This hostile atmosphere hapened as it is expected that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will meet as part of the EU-facilitated Dialogue in Brussels on June 15.

This was announced by the European Commission spokesman Peter Stano on Wednesday.

“I can announce that the next round of EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina will take place in Brussels next Tuesday,” Stano said.

This is the first time that Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti will meet with Serbian President Vucic as part of the EU-facilitated dialogue. The meeting will be facilitated by the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and EU Special Representative for the Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, Stano said during a press conference on Wednesday.

Kurti and Vucic are expected to discuss heated topics including the Agreement on establishment of the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities which was signed in 2013. Kurti has stated earlier that Kosovo cannot allow establishment of a monoethnic association. But the EU expects that all the agreements reached so far in Brussels to be fully implemented.

But Vucic was quoted as having hinted that everything should start from the very beginning and the meeting is not part of the dialogue.

It's easy to see that much of what was repeated in Tirana on reconciliation and cooperation is mere propaganda because the hostile atmosphere has not subdued at all between Kosovo and Serbia. Moreover the Serbian government head behaved so arrogantly reminding that five EU member countries do not recognize Kosovo. Certainly this is a plus for Belgrade and an hypocrite stance of those countries who clam for peace do not recognize the statehood of Kosovo keeping ablaze the conflict between Pristina and Belgrade.

/argumentum.al