The European Union’s top diplomat has called on Serbia and Kosovo to resume dialogue, saying it is the only way to normalise their ties and achieve a final agreement.
Talks between the Balkan neighbours broke down in November 2018 when Kosovo imposed a 100% tax on Serbian goods over Belgrade’s refusal to recognise Kosovo’s independence.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell is on a two-day trip to Kosovo before travelling to Serbia on Friday.
“My duty, my task my endeavour my objective, is to accompany, facilitate the negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo,” Mr Borrell said after meeting Kosovo President Hashim Thaci.
“Because the problem can only be solved by Serbia and Kosovo, with the negotiations between the two of them, and the result can only come from an agreement between the two of them.
“There is no other solution.”
The EU-mediated negotiations started in 2011 but stalled when Kosovo imposed the tariffs on Serbian products about 14 months ago.
Serbia’s intervention against Kosovo’s independence-seeking ethnic Albanians in 1998-99 prompted Nato to intervene to stop the conflict.
Serbia does not accept Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence, although its former province has been recognised by about 100 countries.
Mr Borrell said Brussels was not in a race with Washington on Serbia-Kosovo negotiations and they were “working together to achieve a result.”
Last week, senior US officials brokered two deals to resume air and railway links between the two countries, which have been suspended for 21 years.
Mr Thaci urged closer co-ordination between Brussels and Washington, and called on EU member states to take a united stance.
He was optimistic a deal between Kosovo and Serbia eventually would be achieved “though that is not an easy process”.