US, EU officials launch diplomatic offensive after failed Serbia-Kosovo meeting in Brussels

US, EU officials launch diplomatic offensive after failed Serbia-Kosovo meeting in Brussels
Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti (left) and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (right) meet in the presence of EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak and High Representative Josep Borrell. / European Union
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje August 22, 2022

Senior US and EU officials will visit Kosovo and Serbia in the coming days in a diplomatic offensive following the failed meeting in Brussels between the two countries’ leaders.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti on August 18 in Brussels, but the meeting convened following increased tension in northern Kosovo ended without agreement. Tensions were sparked by Pristina’s decision not to recognise Serbian ID documents and car number plates. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but is not recognised by Belgrade as a separate state.

Kosovo’s Telegrafi reported that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Gabriel Escobar will visit the two capitals this week.

"Escobar is traveling to Pristina and Belgrade to support the dialogue," a spokesperson from the State Department told the Telegrafi.

In Pristina, Escobar will meet Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani and government officials.

EU envoy for Serbia and Kosovo, Miroslav Lajcak, will visit Kosovo on August 24, Telegrafi said citing sources within the EU.

According to Serbian agency Tanjug, Lajcak will be in Belgrade on August 25.

The two delegates from the US and the EU will also meet representatives of political parties.

EU High Representative Josep Borrell said following the latest Brussels talks that the efforts will continue and the two sides should find a solution by September 1.

“The international community does not want to see renewed tensions in the coming period, and the parties will be fully responsible for any escalation on the ground,” the high representative said.