Kosovo and Serbia fail to sign agreement at talks.

After hours of talks, Kosovo and Serbia have not been able to sign a potentially historic agreement aimed at normalizing relations. However, the two sides did reach a “good faith” pact negotiated by EU diplomacy head Josep Borrell. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met for nearly 12 hours in Ohrid, North Macedonia, to discuss an 11-point plan presented by the EU in Brussels in February. The EU-brokered talks aimed to resolve a dispute that began after Kosovo declared independence in 2008. Serbia still refuses to recognise this declaration, with instability continuing between Belgrade and its former breakaway province.

Borrell said that the pact reached requires Belgrade and Pristina to recognise the official documents of both countries, allowing citizens to travel freely between them, and that Serbia must not obstruct Kosovo’s entry into international organisations. The pact also provides that Kosovo will negotiate with the EU to give an “appropriate level of self-government” to the Serbian community in the country. Serbia refused to sign the agreement formally, but promised to implement it. Meanwhile, Kosovo blamed Serbia for refusing to accept the plan for a second time.

The matter of Kosovo is an obsession for a considerable section of the Serbian population, which sees the territory as part of their country. There are concerns over their travel documents, diplomas, license plates and customs stamps, and the EU-brokered talks attempted to resolve this issue. The latest round of negotiations followed months of EU brokered diplomacy, almost 25 years after the war between ethnic Albanian insurgents and Serb forces that ended by a NATO bombing campaign.

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