Agreement with Serbia cannot be successful without mutual recognition

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti took part in the Paris virtual summit jointly hosted by the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In his remarks, Hoti said that relations with Serbia continue to remain a matter of ‘grave concern’ for Kosovo and accused Serbia of leading a campaign against Kosovo’s independence and its membership in international organizations.

“These harmful practices damaged the process of normalization of our relations as two independent countries.”

Nevertheless, Hoti noted, Kosovo remains committed to normalizing relations with Serbia which he said can only be achieved if they respect each other’s statehood.  

Hoti said that the dialogue process needs to have a clear timeline and framework and should be guided by the following principles: that territorial integrity of Kosovo is non-negotiable and that the constitutional order of Kosovo cannot be affected by the agreement with Serbia which would also have to be fully in line with the Constitution of Kosovo.  

He said that the agreement with Serbia should result in mutual recognition. “Without such a conclusion of this process, the Agreement cannot succeed. Mutual recognition between the two countries is the only way to normalize relations and pave the way for both countries for EU integration,” he underlined.

Hoti said further that the outcome of the agreement would also have to include “the EU obligation to encompass the recognition of Kosovo by five remaining EU countries.”

“Kosovo’s membership in the UN should also be part of the outcome of the comprehensive peace agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. This naturally implies the substitution of UN Security Resolution 1244. Pursuing membership in other international organizations and emerging clear opening of the European perspective for Kosovo is our objective and our appeal alongside this process. And last but not least, missing persons and victims of all forms of violence, war damages, casualties, are issues of our utmost concern in this process. No normalization can take place before putting justice in place.”

He also called on the EU to grant visa liberalization to Kosovo saying that its institutions are committed to advancing the rule of law.  

PM Hoti also spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic and thanked the EU for its assistance to Kosovo in coping with this global health crisis.

“We are doing all we can to contain the spread of the virus, as well as to support the economy through a comprehensive list of economic recovery measures.”