Future EU membership flagged as US appears to construct partnerships ‘in vital and dynamic area’
WASHINGTON: Current tensions between Kosovo and Serbia amid a dispute over license plate guidelines ought to be resolved by way of dialogue and the implementation of earlier agreements between the 2 international locations, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Gabriel Escobar, mentioned.
Escobar urged each international locations to work out their variations by way of the framework of agreements sponsored by the EU.
His feedback comply with offended protests by ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo who refused to show non permanent license plates on their autos when getting into Kosovo territory from Serbia.
In a press briefing on Friday attended by Arab Information, Escobar mentioned that the US authorities stays dedicated to the Western Balkans area.
“The Western Balkans stays a spot of large alternative, a dynamic and vital a part of the world, and one which we rely on and the place we’re constructing vital partnerships,” he mentioned.
Tensions between the 2 international locations flared on July 31 when Serbian protesters used autos to dam key border areas between Serbia and Kosovo over plans by the Kosovo authorities requiring individuals getting into Kosovo with Serbian IDs to interchange them with a brief doc throughout their keep within the nation.
The measures additionally known as for Serbian drivers to show non permanent Kosovo license plates on their autos.
The Kosovar authorities argues that the plans are much like these the Serbian authorities applies to Kosovar drivers and residents who enter Serbia.
An estimated 50,000 ethnic Serbs who dwell in northern Kosovo use Serbian id playing cards and license plates, and refuse to acknowledge the Kosovo authorities.
In 2013, an settlement normalizing ties between Kosovo and Serbia stipulated the institution of an Affiliation of Serb Municipalities in northern Kosovo, granting ethnic Serbs within the area a semi-autonomous standing.
Nevertheless, the Kosovo authorities insists that the so-called Brussels settlement mustn’t undermine Kosovo sovereignty or create a Serbian mini-state throughout the nation.
Escobar agreed that the difficulty of Affiliation of Serb Municipalities mustn’t contradict the Kosovo structure, but additionally known as for methods to acknowledge Serbian minority rights and cultural heritage.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, and has since joined NATO and hopes to develop into a EU member.
Escobar mentioned that “from the US perspective, the long-term future for each Serbia and Kosovo is to develop into members of the EU.”
He added that each international locations ought to work to resolve their variations on the problems of license plates, power and the Affiliation of Serb Municipalities.
“In that regard, we help the EU efforts to facilitate a dialogue between the 2 international locations. And our place is that each one prior agreements ought to be carried out, together with the Affiliation of Serb Municipalities. So we want to see a dialogue on that when the events meet later this month,” Escobar mentioned.
He added that “the long run lies with Europe,” and EU membership for each international locations would encourage regional integration and freedom of motion, in addition to stability.
Escobar mentioned that three Balkan states are already NATO members, and the Balkans is a vital element of US European safety technique, particularly within the wake of battle between Russia and Ukraine.