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Top US envoy Blinken urges Kosovo resume talks with Serbia

PRISTINA, Kosovo – Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, has informed Kosovo that normalizing talks with Serbia is essential on its way to the European Union.

The Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti published a letter of congratulations on Thursday that he had received from Blinken the day before. Blinken called on Kosovo “to participate productively and immediately in the US-backed, EU-backed dialogue with Serbia”.

“Securing a comprehensive normalization agreement with Serbia that focuses on mutual recognition is critical to Kosovo’s ability to reach its full potential and advance its EU accession path,” wrote Blinken.

Brussels has also stressed that normalization talks between Kosovo and Serbia are fundamental to the goal of one day becoming bloc members.

Kurti, who on March 22nd after his left self-determination movement or Vetevendosje! Taking office, won the most votes in Kosovo’s parliamentary elections on February 14. The talks with Serbia are not one of the immediate objectives.

Negotiations to normalize relations between Kosovo and neighboring Serbia, which began a decade ago, stalled last year.

Kurti and the new President Vjosa Osmani mentioned the problem of around 1,640 people missing in the 1998-1999 war as a priority in these talks.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after a brutal 1998-1999 war between separatist ethnic Albanian rebels and Serbian forces that ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign that evicted Serb forces and drafted peacekeeping forces.

Most Western nations have recognized Kosovo’s sovereignty, but Serbia and its allies Russia and China have not. Tensions over Kosovo remain a source of volatility in the Balkans.

The Associated Press

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