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Kosovo leader says ethnic Serb association isn’t a priority

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s prime minister stated Wednesday that creating an affiliation of the nation’s 5 Serb-majority municipalities was not a precedence for his Cupboard regardless that the U.S. has argued the difficulty is essential to an eventual normalization of ties between Kosovo and Serbia.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti repeated issues that such a corporation may evolve right into a ministate and stated resuming European Union-led negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo could be extra productive.

“A monoethnic affiliation in a multiethnic Kosovo isn’t potential,” Kurti instructed journalists.

Washington has elevated stress on Pristina to implement a 2013 settlement to ascertain the Affiliation of Serb-Majority Municipalities, which might coordinate work on schooling, well being care, land planning and financial improvement on the native degree. Kosovo’s Constitutional Court docket later declared the plan unconstitutional, ruling it wasn’t inclusive of different ethnicities and will entail the usage of government powers.

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Diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Pristina met this week with a gaggle of civil society leaders, authorities officers and political leaders to debate the steps Kosovo’s authorities must take to authorize the affiliation. U.S. and European Union envoy s additionally visited Kosovo and Serbia final month to encourage the 2 nations to just accept a brand new proposal for normalizing their relations and furthering their candidacies for EU membership.

The proposal’s particulars haven’t but been made public.

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U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Jeff Hovenier sought to deal with the issues of Kurti’s authorities by reiterating that Washington opposed organising the Affiliation of Serb-Majority Municipalities, or ASM, to resemble Republika Srpska, one in every of two political entities in Bosnia with broad governing authority.

Kurti remained skeptical, asserting that whereas Serbia has acknowledged Bosnia’s statehood de jure, “de facto it sabotages it on a regular basis.”

“Let’s talk about it, take heed to everybody,“ he stated of the renewed push to create the ASM. ”However you can’t ask from the prime minister of the republic to violate the folks’s will and state pursuits.”

Kurti stated Wednesday that Kosovo and Serbia have signed 33 agreements throughout 12 years of EU-mediated negotiations and all “are equal; you may’t decide up one they like as a precedence.”

He talked about the barricades ethnic Serbs erected in northern Kosovo in December to protest the arrest of a Serb police officer. The barricades had been eliminated solely after mediation by Washington and Brussels.

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Serbia fought a 1998-99 struggle with ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo, which on the time was a Serbian province. A NATO intervention that compelled Serbia to drag out of the territory ended the struggle, however tensions over Kosovo’s standing stays a supply of instability within the Balkans.

In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, which Belgrade has refused to acknowledge, supported by Russia and China. The U.S. and most EU nations have acknowledged Kosovo as a sovereign nation.


Semini reported from Tirana, Albania.


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