Washington's message to Belgrade: It cannot happen

US special representative for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar said US categorically opposes the return of Serbian forces to the north of Kosovo and Metohija

Source: Tanjug
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FOTO TANJUG/ VLADA REPUBLIKE SRBIJE/ SLOBODAN MILJEVIC
FOTO TANJUG/ VLADA REPUBLIKE SRBIJE/ SLOBODAN MILJEVIC

"We categorically reject it. We do not support that at all, Escobar said in an interview with Radio Free Europe, answering a journalist's question about Belgrade's announcement that it will ask KFOR for the return of the Serbian army to northern Kosovo.

When asked what the US response would be if Belgrade really sent troops to the north of Kosovo, Escobar replied that he did not expect that to happen.

"I will underline, Kosovo has strong security guarantees from the US, which are manifested by participation in KFOR," Escobar pointed out. When asked if he thinks that KFOR should remove the barricades in the north of Kosovo and Metohija, Escobar says that he expects them to be removed by the people who put them up.

"But we also expect them to be given a path forward where they can resolve some of the issues. There are some issues where we need to be firm. Some issues around the rule of law, legitimate arrest warrants, those issues should be resolved at in the court, not on the street," Escobar points out, but adds that the voice of Serbs from Kosovo and Kosovo must be heard on issues of administrative procedures, such as the issue of license plates.

Speaking about the Community of Serbian Municipalities (CSM), Escobar emphasized that the implementation of the signed agreements should be worked on immediately. I told the people that the US will lead the efforts to implement it this time,'' Escobar said.

He added that, from the position of the US, the CSM is a "legal international obligation". "No politician or political party can simply walk away from that obligation. We will work on the CSM, that will be our contribution to the dialogue process,'' said the American official.

When asked by RFE whether the CSM "should be implemented before the final agreement", he replied that the CSM should be worked on immediately. "I think that, honestly, we should work on the Community immediately, it should be on the agenda for the next talks...", added Escobar.

Escobar pointed out that he hopes that a solution will be reached soon and that the barricades in the north of Kosovo will soon be removed, as well as that the representatives of the Serbs who left the institutions will return to their positions.

"I call on the government of Kosovo to accept the people who return, those who can return, to allow them to return. And then we will move forward with discussions on normalization," said Escobar.

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