New round of dialogue completed; "You don't know whether to laugh or cry"

"You don't know whether to laugh or cry", "It's not easy, but it's important that it happened", those sentences best represent the current state of dialogue.

Source: Deutsche Welle
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Foto: Instagram/buducnostsrbijeav
Foto: Instagram/buducnostsrbijeav

The last round of the ten-year dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina this time ended in less than two hours. The unwritten rule of Brussels diplomacy was confirmed that the longer a meeting lasts, the greater the possibility for a positive outcome.

There is no outcome of today's talks, except for the agreement that the leaders of Belgrade and Pristina will meet again before the end of July.

The EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak's duty was to present the results of today's dialogue. As an experienced diplomat, Lajcak summed it up in one generalized sentence that may or may not mean anything.

"What is important for the EU is that both leaders confirmed that there is no other way forward than through the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo," Lajcak said after the meeting.

What Miroslav Lajcak did not get into, apart from the statement that the talks were "open and direct" and that "it is good that they took place", is the assessment of the diametrically opposite positions of the two sides when it comes to the mentioned "way forward" and "normalization of relations".

Vučić: You don't know whether to laugh or cry

President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, had the opportunity to first present his vision of the meeting with the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, to the media.

For Vučić, this is a meeting that, as he says, he has never been to before. "You just stop and you don't know whether to laugh or cry… You are dealing with people who are neither serious nor responsible," said Vučić.

President of Serbia, who announced before the first meeting with Kurti "face to face" that these were "difficult talks" with someone "like Donald Duck", who keeps repeating the attacks on Serbia, after the talks he says that "they absolutely did not agree on anything".

Foto: Profimedia
Foto: Profimedia

"The man came not to agree on anything and to say - I came to ask you to recognize an independent Kosovo. My answer was - never. And then he exploded," Vucic said.

Vučić did not explain what exactly was meant by "detonation", but he stated that "there were no insults or curses", but somewhat "sharper reactions".

Kurti: The distance from Vučić is more than two meters

Foto: EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ
Foto: EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

To the statement of the President of Serbia that Pristina came to Brussels not to continue the talks, but only to "provoke the interruption of the dialogue", Albin Kurti answered that the meeting was "constructive", and that he himself was "optimistic".

It will be difficult, but I am an optimist, not because I am always like that, but because we now have an honest approach to problems. The essence of our conflict is the lack of mutual recognition. "Neither Serbia recognizes Kosovo nor Kosovo recognizes Serbia," Kurti said.

Albin Kurti very precisely defined the "essence of the problem" and the so-called "elephant in the room", but he offered "Joseph Biden's position" on mutual recognition as the "only and best" solution.

On the conclusion of the media that mutual recognition is not a compromise solution acceptable to the other side, Kurti "redefined" his proposal.

"It is time for Serbia to declare independence from Kosovo," Kurti said.

For the Prime Minister of Kosovo, the conversation with the President of Serbia was not "on the verge of an incident", but he also emphasized that the distance between the two of them was "more than two meters".

A solution by the end of the year?

What is in question at the end of everything is how this "distance" will be reduced, which after 10 years of dialogue in Brussels seems bigger than ever.

Here we are not only talking about the next round of dialogue scheduled for July, but also about the whole process, for which the EU institutions, unofficially, state that "could be resolved by the end of the year", which will not be the first time the EU overestimates its policy towards Western Balkans.

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