Rejection of the Open Balkans initiative mounting with Pahor saying there are many objections to it

During his visit to Kosovo on Monday Slovenian President Borut Pahor met his counterpart Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

Earlier on Sunday Pahor met Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade on Sunday.

Pahor met also senior KFOR representatives and Slovenian soldiers serving in the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

Pahor stated in Pristina that the Open Balkans is not an alternative to the inclusion of the Western Balkan countries in the European Union. He said that in the beginning he welcomed this initiative as a way to regulate Kosovo-Serbia relations, but now, according to him, there are many objections.

"I have seen that there are many objections, but this initiative seemed much more elegant to regulate Kosovo-Serbia relations when was unveiled," he said.

Vjosa Osmani said that the initiative is not a characteristic of regional cooperation. "The Open Balkans is a space for the extension of Serbian hegemony and there is not even an element of regional cooperation," she said.

President Osmani also spoke about the agreement on the Association of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo and said that it was not implemented due to the decision of the Constitutional Court as it contradicts the Constitution. She said there can be no Association with executive powers.

While the Slovenian President, Pahor, said that the most important issues can be resolved through dialogue, but stressed that the first condition is to respect the agreements which are reached. According to Pahor, the agreement for the Association must be respected by Kosovo.

In the separate meeting with Pahor, Prime Minister Kurti assessed Slovenia's role in the process of Pristina- Belgrade dialogue as very important and asked for "its support to elaborate on the importance of Serbia's reflection on the damage caused, the destruction and the war, the crimes committed in committed.

Kurti said that this is a precondition for serious talks and normalization of relations, reiterating as a priority the placement of the mutual recognition of Kosovo and Serbia in the center of the talks.