UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are trying to re-launch the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, whose relations are at their worst stage in almost 20 years of war, during a summit on the Balkans in Berlin on Monday.
“We want to provide the historical experience of reconciliation and active cooperation between Germany and France, which is beneficial given the historical context of the Balkans,” the French presidency said ahead of the expected meetings on Monday afternoon.
Berlin remains cautious about the goals in light of the conflict between Belgrade and Pristina.
The German government is talking about an “exchange of views” aimed at strengthening the “stability of the region, especially finding a way to revive the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.”
The war two decades ago led to the loss of Belgrade in Kosovo. Serbia still considers Kosovo one of its territories.
Paris and Berlin have invited other Balkan countries to the talks – Montenegro, Albania, northern Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Franco-German initiative is added to EU-sponsored negotiations aimed at bringing Serbia and Kosovo closer together. But these negotiations have been stalled for months.
– Exchange of land? –
The return to dialogue seemed possible last summer, based on an idea endorsed by Serbian President Aleksandr Foticic and Kosovo President Hashim Tagi on “land exchange” or “border correction” before mutual recognition.
The Serbian president clearly hoped to accelerate this course and thus in the process of his country’s accession to the European Union. However, the project is far from being widely accepted in both countries and in Europe.
Berlin sees it as a risk to awaken the ghosts of the Balkans and the war-torn region during the 1990s.
“This would pose a threat to the region,” German government spokesman Ulrich Demer said.
France is more open, like the United States and some EU officials, although it has not made a formal position in particular.
Since then, this initiative has been eroded by Serbia’s obstruction of Kosovo’s candidacy to Interpol and, subsequently, by Pristina’s decision to impose 100% customs duties on imported Serbian products.
The President of the Government of Kosovo confirms that this punitive trade measure will remain in place as long as Belgrade has shown no flexibility towards recognition of his country’s independence.
For its part, Serbia refuses to return to the table of talks organized by the European Union as long as these drawings have not been canceled.
– Merkel-Macron meeting –
The expectations for the summit remain very cautious on both sides.
“I do not know very well right now how we will talk to Pristina and what about,” the Serbian president said last week on the sidelines of a visit to Beijing.
He said he “respects” the efforts of Macron and Angela Merkel. “I’m sure they’re smarter than me and they’ll have an idea,” he said.
In Kosovo, President Hashim Taji indicated that the summit could “make opportunities” or be “disappointing”.
The summit will be the first meeting between Macron and Merkel since the French president last week criticized unusual Berlin.
Paris is not hiding its frustration with the German government over issues such as BRICST, trade relations with the United States or economic files, under conditions fueled by the approaching European elections.
The French presidency said the Balkan summit would also allow Paris to “re-engage France more actively in the western Balkans.”
The Elysee said McCron would visit Belgrade “this year” after the visit, due in December due to the “yellow jackets” crisis, was canceled.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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