Serbia, Kosovo commit to EU talks on normalizing ties

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union warned Serbia and Kosovo on Monday that they might undermine their EU membership hopes by appealing their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem, as U.S. President Donald Trump’s shock announcement concerning the commerce left officials in Belgrade and Pristina scrambling to restrict the political fallout.

In an unexpected switch final week, Trump said that Serbia and Kosovo had agreed to normalize financial ties as piece of U.S.-brokered talks that consist of Belgrade appealing its embassy to Jerusalem, and mutual recognition between Israel and Kosovo.

It surprised the Europeans, who are main complex talks between Serbia and its dilapidated territory of Kosovo on bettering their long-strained relatives, whereas Serbian officials perceived to be watering down their commitment to Trump, and Kosovo sought to allay concerns among Muslim nations.

The 27-nation EU’s long-held policy is that Jerusalem’s field must quiet be worked out between Israel and the Palestinians as piece of broader peace negotiations, and that Serbia — as a candidate to affix the bloc — must quiet appreciate that.

“There isn’t any EU member insist with an embassy in Jerusalem,” European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said. “Any diplomatic steps that might per chance well call into quiz the EU’s fashioned location on Jerusalem are a matter of extreme pain and remorse.”

Praising what he said modified into once “a predominant leap forward” and “a actually historical commitment,” Trump — deep into campaigning earlier than November’s presidential election — introduced Friday that “Serbia and Kosovo possess every dedicated to financial normalization.”

Trump furthermore said that Serbia has dedicated to start a commercial location of labor in Jerusalem this month and switch its embassy there in July. The Trump administration identified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017 and moved the U.S. embassy there in May per chance per chance even merely 2018.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Serbia’s president and confirmed that Israel and Kosovo, a predominantly Muslim nation, will set diplomatic relatives. He said Pristina furthermore will start its embassy in Jerusalem.

Stano, talking as Serbian President Aleksander Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minster Avdullah Hoti were keeping a original round of talks in Brussels on normalizing their relatives, said the EU modified into once instructed prematurely handiest concerning the industrial aspects of the White Home match, no longer about movements in Jerusalem.

In Belgrade, Serbian officials perceived to be stepping inspire from the embassy pledge, with International Minister Ivica Dacic announcing the final decision will quiet possess to be discussed by the authorities and can depend on “a substitute of factors” including future pattern of ties with Israel.

Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci, within the meantime, modified into once on the phone with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, searching out for to assuage fears concerning the choice to peep Israel expressed by Turkey and the Arab League community of nations.

“Such a recognition isn’t any longer going to violate beneath any circumstances the strategic, friendly and fraternal partnership with Turkey,” Thaci said after the conversation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the deal that establishes diplomatic relatives with Kosovo, and would possess each and each Kosovo and Serbia start embassies in Jerusalem. They is known as a half of the U.S. and Guatemala because the ideal nations with embassies within the contested metropolis, whose jap sector is claimed by the Palestinians because the capital of a future insist.

“We are in a position to proceed efforts in hiss that extra European nations will switch their embassies to Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said Friday. He accepted that Kosovo becomes the necessary Muslim-majority nation to start an embassy in Jerusalem.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, around a decade after Belgrade sent troops into its dilapidated territory to crush an insurrection by ethnic Albanian separatists. Serbia refuses to peep Kosovo’s statehood, and tensions possess simmered ever since.

The EU-facilitated negotiations, which the Europeans drawl is the ideal in terms of cope with their membership hopes, began in March 2011 and possess produced more than a dozen agreements, however most of them possess no longer been seen.

The talks stalled in November 2018 and handiest resumed in July after a parallel U.S. negotiating effort began.

But as they met all over again on Monday, Vucic and Hoti recommitted to the European track, announcing “that they set the most practical precedence to EU integration and to continuing the work on the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue.”

In what modified into once described as a “joint utter” issued by the situation of labor of EU international policy chief Josep Borrell, Vucic and Hoti furthermore said they “dedicated to redoubling their efforts to originate sure extra EU alignment in accordance with their respective duties.”

They perceived to scale back Friday’s announcement, by announcing that “the no longer too long within the past agreed documents in Washington, D.C., building on earlier Dialogue-related commitments undertaken by the 2 parties, might per chance provide a vital contribution to reaching a comprehensive, legally binding agreement on normalization of relatives.”


Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania, and Josef Federman in Jerusalem contributed to this document

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