Talks between Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Albanian Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Brussels on Tuesday ended with little progress, as the prime minister of the autonomous province refused the creation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities called for by the 2013 Brussels Agreement.
The two sides did adopt a declaration on missing persons at the meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. They agreed to prioritize the issue of missing persons to bring closure to families and to establish the basis for a lasting peace.
EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who hosted the meeting along with EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak applauded the move, saying “Of the 6.065 cases of persons who have gone missing in the period 1 January 1998-31 December 2000, 1,621 remain unresolved. More than twenty years after, their families continue to live in grief, unaware of the whereabouts of their loved ones. Families have the right to know the fate of their relatives as does society at large.”
The two sides agreed to cooperate on identifying burial sites and excavations and to provide access to reliable and accurate information to help families locate and identify the remaining missing persons, including access to classified documents, videos, and audio recordings held by institutions in Serbia and Kosovo.
But on the key issue of the creation of a Community of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo, talks broke down. Vučić blamed Kurti, telling reporters that Belgrade accepted the European Union draft statute of the Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM), but that Prishtina rejected it outright.
Vučić said that each part of the EU proposal cited earlier agreements that had been signed by Belgrade and Pristina. “Either the 2013 and 2015 agreements are accepted or this is the end of everything,” the Serbian President said. “The four of us did not see a solution tonight and we left in the hope of finding some agreement in the coming days. I warned from the start and I knew which way things were heading.”