Escobar: Regional conflict looms over Kosovo and Metohija

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, and the EU’s special representative for Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajčak, participated in a public discussion in the Atlantic Council on the situation in the north of Kosovo and Metohija and possible solutions to the current crisis.

Escobar stated that he was very concerned about the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, which, as he assessed, has the potential to grow into a regional conflict.

Escobar also stated that the two leaders, Aleksandar Vučić and Albin Kurti, must accept the European plan, and that “there is no other choice”.

Miroslav Lajčak added that the de-escalation of the crisis in Kosovo is necessary, otherwise, there will be victims.

“We have seen several incidents and if the situation does not de-escalate, we will have victims. There is no doubt that on May 29, we saw very radical elements in action in Zvečan, who came to injure, if not kill, and cause violence, and there is no justification for that. Those criminals must be identified and brought to justice. Still, not all 45,000 Serbs who live in north Kosovo should be viewed as criminals”, Lajčak said.

Speaking about new elections, Lajčak assessed that there is no political will for that at the moment.

“There is no deadline, but we have to ask for elections to be held as soon as possible. However, at this moment, there is no political will to hold elections,” said Lajčak.

“The leaders of both sides will come to Brussels, for a meeting. It is important that people resume their normal lives as soon as possible”, Lajčak said and added:“We are working on a date. Saying “no” to an invitation to a meeting would be a very serious and negative move.“

“People should be allowed to return to normal life, and the police and KFOR to withdraw. We have to set an election date. When there is no dialogue and solution, then there is escalation and unilateral actions from both sides”, he went on to say.

„The Kosovo issue must be resolved by the end of this year, because in 2024, Kosovo will not be in the centre of attention any more“, Lajčak concluded.

(Politika, 21.06.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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