After the meeting in Ohrid between the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo with the European mediators, things remain unclear. Aleksandar Vucic and Albin Kurti hold divergent interpretations and in fact, the Serbian side has not signed the document.
Serbia has not signed the document
“We would have preferred, as EU mediators, that the document be signed. And this was our proposal to the parties. But President Vucic made it clear that he is not in a position to sign the document. He alleged constitutional limitations. We made various proposals on how address the issue, but they were rejected,” said EU mediator Miroslav Lajcak.
The validity of a verbal agreement
According to experts in international law, verbal agreements can be valid and binding. So the Serbian president clarified his position:
“For Serbia, it is legally binding when I put a signature or stamp on something, or when I verbally accept it. And no one else can produce a legal consequence for the Republic of Serbia, except its president and, in some cases, the prime minister and the foreign minister,” said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
Skepticism in the streets in the face of diplomatic rhetoric
Faced with diplomatic rhetoric and various interpretations, Kosovar Albanians in Pristina are confused and skeptical. A normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia by the end of March seems unlikely.
“All the agreements that were made in the past were agreements with a guarantor, while this one has neither a signatory nor a guarantor. So I have no faith that anything can be done,” said one interviewee.
“I doubt its success, because I see it as an agreement without a signature. It has some kind of effect, but I have my doubts, because without a signature there may be changes with respect to what the parties may have agreed to,” another person interviewed declared.
The process could take until the end of the year.
After the European negotiation, the US mediator in this process, Gabriel Escobar, has now set the end of 2023 as the new deadline to resolve the problem.
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