Pahor urges progress in Prishtina-Belgrade dialogue

Prishtina – President Borut Pahor called for headway in the Prishtina-Belgrade dialogue as he held talks in Prishtina on Monday with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani. He endorsed Kosovo’s efforts to join Euro-Atlantic organisations and urged the country to continue adopting and implementing reforms.

Pahor emphasised the need to implement the Kosovo-Serbia agreements reached so far and to look for a comprehensive solution in relations between the two countries.

“This could contribute decisively to all leaders of nations and countries in this part of Europe having faith and trust in the ability to take decisive steps forward in the resolution of bilateral and multilateral issues via dialogue and respect of agreements,” he said.

The current standstill does not benefit anyone. Dialogue is not simple since very complex issues have to be addressed, but progress can be achieved if there is political will on both sides, he said.

The talks in Prishtina came a day after Pahor held talks in Belgrade with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić focused on the EU accession prospects of Western Balkans.

Pahor said he got the impression that Belgrade thought there is a lack of political will for dialogue in Prishtina, whereas Prishtina thinks the same about Belgrade.

Much like in Belgrade, the talks in Prishtina also touched on Open Balkan, a proposed economic and political zone currently featuring Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Osmani said it was clear there were differences in views regarding this initiative, which she said created room for the expansion of Serbian hegemony. She believes Serbia is trying to take the lead and does not have good intentions.

According to her, it would be different if Serbia was a country whose goals were peace and stability, and if it recognised Kosovo. Alas, it wants Kosovo to join the initiative as a province, not as a sovereign country.

Pahor said the initiative was not an alternative to EU membership for Western Balkan countries, it was a parallel process that inspired cooperation between nations and countries in the region and addressed misunderstandings and problems that could jeopardise peace, stability and economic prosperity.

He said he backed the initiative in good faith since it addressed something that had been agreed as part of the Berlin Process and in some way suited all the sides involved.

After the meeting with Osmani, which included the planting of a tree of friendship in front of the Presidential Palace, Pahor also discussed the situation in the region and the state of the Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue with Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

He told Kurti that permanent stabilisation, development and integration of Kosovo and other Western Balkan countries in Euro-Atlantic organisations remained in Slovenia’s strategic interest.

The president wrapped up his visit by calling on Slovenian troops serving in KFOR. He met top KFOR representatives in Peć and Prishtina, including Major General Ferenc Kajari, the KFOR commander, and Colonel Andrea Bertazzo, commander for Regional Command – West.