Kosovo and Serbia to restart talks
Well, even as one of the world’s most intractable conflicts gets steadily worse, there’s at least a chance that another will get slightly better. This Saturday, the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo will meet with US and EU officials to try to revive peace talks.
It will be the first time the two have met since tensions spiked last month due to a deadly shootout between Serb nationalists in Northern Kosovo and local Kosovar police officers. Kosovo accused Serbia of plotting the attack, while Belgrade briefly mobilized its troops to the border before backing down under US pressure.
Background: Albanian-majority Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, after a decade of war and Serbian attempts at ethnic cleansing. Serbia, which considers Kosovo part of its ancestral heartland, doesn’t recognize the Kosovar government – nor do ethnic Serb communities living in northern Kosovo.
The talks will aim to revive an EU-brokered peace framework that envisions de facto recognition of Kosovo in exchange for Kosovo giving broad autonomy to Serbs in the north.
There is a strong incentive to make progress: The EU will soon begin meetings on enlarging the union. Serbia and Kosovo both want in, but Brussels has been clear that it can’t happen until they make peace.
For more on the “dangerous limbo” of Serbia-Kosovo relations, see our explainer here.