Wed, 04 Aug 2021

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti says he will not attend a meeting meant to relaunch a dialogue with Serbia that was proposed by EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell during talks in Brussels with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

The meeting was supposed to take place next week in Brussels.

'I will not be here in Brussels on May 11,' Kurti told reporters in Brussels on April 28 after talks with EU officials.

Vucic on April 26 held talks with Borrell and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Kurti said he will attend a meeting organized by Borrell with regional leaders in mid-May instead.

'The future dialogue with Serbia must be well-prepared in advance and based on clear principles,' Kurti said.

'Belgrade needs to face its past. We should not be obsessed with history, but we also cannot ignore history,' he said, mentioning the killing of ethnic Albanians by Serbian forces during the 1998-99 conflict.

'Belgrade should distance itself from [former Serbian leader Slobodan] Milosevic's regime and not continue the old goals with new means,' he told reporters.

Serbia was forced to cede control over Kosovo in 1999 after a U.S.-led NATO campaign ended Belgrade's crackdown against Kosovo's ethnic Albanian separatists. More than 10,000 people died in the conflict.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008 but Belgrade does not recognize it.

Most EU member states and the United States have recognized Kosovo's independence, but not Serbia's allies Russia and China.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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