© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic speaks throughout a information convention in his workplace in Belgrade, Serbia, January 23, 2023. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

By Aleksandar Vasovic

BELGRADE (Reuters) – The USA helps Serbia’s intention to pursue a global plan to normalise ties with Kosovo and finally be part of the European Union, the U.S. ambassador to Serbia mentioned on Tuesday.

“It is actually about Serbia’s future and about relationships that Serbia wants,” Christopher Hill advised reporters in Belgrade, capital of the Balkan nation, an ally of Russia.

Each Kosovo and Serbia purpose to affix the European Union and so as to full that course of, each events have to resolve excellent points and construct good neighbourly relations.

President Aleksandar Vucic mentioned on Monday that Serbia risked a global backlash and dropping an opportunity to in the end be part of the EU except it appeared right into a Western plan for normalising its relations with its former province.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, virtually a decade after a bloody 1998-1999 conflict, however tensions and occasional violence have persevered between the ethnic Albanian majority and about 100,000 ethnic Serbs, half of whom dwell within the north and largely refuse to recognise the federal government in Pristina.

Serbia is a candidate to affix the EU, nevertheless it should full membership negotiations, normalise ties with Kosovo and align its international and defence insurance policies with these of Brussels, together with inserting sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. 

In a televised handle late on Monday, Vucic, who final week met EU and U.S. envoys, mentioned Serbia can be “economically and politically” misplaced with out EU membership.

Vucic mentioned that on the assembly he had been advised Serbia would endure if it remained against an settlement with Kosovo to resolve their remaining variations. He mentioned he would search extra talks that will produce a compromise.

Hill mentioned Vucic had made it very clear in his speech that Serbia noticed its future within the European Union.

“I need to be very clear that the U.S. very a lot helps this future,” he mentioned after assembly Dubravka Djedovic, Serbia’s power minister.

In accordance with a doc revealed by the Belgrade-based day by day Danas, the EU proposal, made by Germany and France in 2022, doesn’t envisage Serbia formally recognising Kosovo’s independence.

As an alternative, Belgrade must cease lobbying in opposition to Kosovo’s membership in worldwide our bodies. The 2 capitals would additionally open illustration workplaces and work on fixing excellent points. The identical plan was introduced to Kosovo final week.

Hill mentioned Vucic’s speech “laid out a plan and idea on easy methods to convey this very tough drawback to an in depth and to get on with the duty of what Serbia has to do”.

The U.S. diplomat additionally mentioned Pristina should implement the creation of an affiliation of semi-autonomous majority-Serb municipalities, as envisaged by a 2013 EU-brokered settlement between Serbia and Kosovo.

Out of six former Yugoslav republics, Slovenia and Croatia are EU members, Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia are membership candidates, whereas Bosnia desires to affix in. On Dec 15 2022, in a largely symbolic act, Kosovo utilized to affix EU.