Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
💎 Access the Market Tools Trusted by Thousands of Investors Get Started

Kosovo, Serbia presidents meet under EU pressure to defuse crisis

Published Jun 01, 2023 07:08AM ET Updated Jun 01, 2023 04:22PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
2/2 © Reuters. An Italian member of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) looks on while standing guard in Leposavic, Kosovo, June 1, 2023. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski 2/2

By Andrew Gray and John Irish

BULBOACA, Moldova (Reuters) - The presidents of Kosovo and Serbia held talks on Thursday on resolving a political crisis that has spiralled into violence, with the leaders of France and Germany pressing them to take swift steps to reduce tensions.

Kosovo's Vjosa Osmani and Serbia's Aleksandar Vucic met briefly in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the European Union's foreign policy chief on the sidelines of a summit in Moldova.

The EU and the United States have expressed alarm at the latest in a long-line of crises between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian-dominated government and ethnic Serbs who are a majority in the north.

Violence flared on Monday after Kosovo authorities, backed by special police units, installed ethnic Albanian mayors in offices in northern municipalities. The mayors had been elected on turnout of just 3.5% after Serbs boycotted local polls.

The clashes wounded 30 NATO peacekeeping troops and 52 Serb protesters.

Speaking after the meeting with Vucic, Osmani accused the Serbian leader of "whining and complaining and ... not telling the truth". But she said Kosovo could hold new elections in the north with Serb participation if they were triggered legally.

That would fulfil one of the conditions set out by Macron and Scholz for resolving the crisis.

"It's important that everyone involved does everything possible to get to a de-escalation," Scholz told reporters after the summit of the European Political Community, a forum established last year that brings together more than 40 leaders.

Osmani said "a solution for de-escalation is very close" but Belgrade would also have to respect commitments it made under a deal sealed in March to put relations between the two sides, who fought a war in the 1990s, on a more normal footing.

"We need to ensure that the focus is on the full implementation of the agreement, not just parts of it," she said.

Macron said Paris and Berlin had called for the organisation of new elections in the four northern municipalities with Serb participation "as soon as possible".

He said they also urged Kosovo to move ahead with a commitment to create an association of Serb municipalities, seen as a way to give Serbs in the north more self-government.

Macron said they had asked both sides to come back next week with "clear answers".

Vucic left the summit without commenting on the meeting with Osmani.

Earlier in the day, neither leader had expressed any desire to meet with the other, before relenting under international pressure.

They did not acknowledge each other on arrival at the summit even as they stood just metres apart on the red carpet.

Vucic said Kosovo authorities should withdraw "alleged mayors" from the north and declared the Kosovo special police units were there illegally.

"Serbia will do its best and its utmost to de-escalate the situation, which means that we'll try to persuade Serbs to progress calmly and peacefully," he said.

"They're very determined," he added. "They want to see the back of the special police units."

For her part, Osmani said Belgrade was trying to destabilise Kosovo as it had failed to come to terms with Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

She accused Vucic of backing criminal gangs in northern Kosovo - an allegation Belgrade has denied.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has been the driving force behind operations in the north, leading to strong international criticism, particularly from the United States, long Kosovo's staunchest ally.

NATO decided to deploy 700 additional peacekeepers to Kosovo in response to the crisis and the alliance's secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Thursday it was ready to send more.

"NATO will remain vigilant. We will be there to ensure a safe and secure environment, and also to calm down and reduce tensions", he told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Oslo.

Kosovo, Serbia presidents meet under EU pressure to defuse crisis

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your profile, will be public on and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email