US strongly opposes return of Serbian forces to Kosovo - Escobar

United States (, - The United States strongly opposes the return of Serbian armed forces to Kosovo," Gabriel Escobar, the US special envoy for Western Balkans. In his opinion, the Serbian and Kosovo sides should return to the initiated dialogue and resolve the existing problems through open communication.

Escobar's envoy, who met with Kosovo's "prime minister" Albin Kurti on Tuesday in Pristina, also said in an interview that he thought Serbia had announced it would ask NATO peacekeepers to allow the stationing of Serbian soldiers and police in Kosovo. But this, he said, will not happen. “Kosovo has strong security guarantees from the United States, and this is shown in their participation in KFOR,” he said, referring to the NATO-led peacekeeping force.

Escobar also said that the barricades that were put up five days ago by the Serbs in Kosovo should not be taken down by KFOR, but by those who put them up. It should be noted that members of the Serb community in northern Kosovo erected barricades in protest against the fact that the Kosovo police arrested a former Serbian policeman from Kosovo, who, according to the Kosovo authorities, was planning a terrorist attack on the building of the election commission.

The US Special Envoy also stated that, in accordance with the Serbian-Kosovo agreement signed in Brussels in 2013, Pristina should establish a community of Serbian self-rule in Kosovo. But at the same time, he said that Kurti said that he did not care what the then Kosovo “Prime Minister” signed, he still refused to create this institution. The Kosovo side does not agree to create a community of Serbian self-government in Kosovo, as this would give greater autonomy to the Serb minority in northern Kosovo. The United States, according to Gabriel Escobar, considers the formation of a community to be Kosovo's obligation under international law.

Miroslav Lajcak, the European Union's special envoy for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, who was also present during Escobar's visit to Kosovo, did not comment further after the meeting, only saying that the barricades should be removed by political agreement and not by bulldozers. “I don't think we can afford to wait until something goes wrong. Tensions don't help anyone and I don't think anyone is happy with this situation," he said.

Two special envoys from the US and the EU discussed the situation in northern Kosovo with Serbian leaders in Belgrade on Wednesday.

US strongly opposes return of Serbian forces to Kosovo - Escobar