On August 25, Serbia and Kosovo took a significant step forward in normalizing their bilateral relations. With the completion of the April 19, 2013, Brussels agreement, both countries can leave behind the animosities of the past and work for a common future within the European Union. Both sides must now make purposeful efforts to implement the terms of the agreement. Opposition to normalization of relations exists in both countries.
These voices of the past must be met with real and convincing progress in respect for the rule of law, the protection of human rights and the improvements in the lives of citizens, which full implementation of the Brussels Agreement will ensure.
In August 25, the two sides agreed on the general principles and main elements of the Association/Community of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo, which will give Kosovo Serb-majority municipalities a structure to cooperatively exercise their powers and promote the interests of the Serb community within Kosovo’s institutional structure. A Serbian energy supply company will be licensed to serve the north.
Kosovo will get its own international telephone dialing code and the ability to manage its telephone traffic and collect important revenue from this traffic. Serbia telecom will receive a license for fixed telephone operations in Kosovo, as well as a temporary authorization to continue its existing mobile operations.
And finally, the two sides also agreed on how to restore full freedom of movement on the symbolic Mitrovica Bridge that spans Albanian and Serb communities in northern Kosovo.
We congratulate the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo and their delegations for reaching important agreements …facilitated by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini,” said State Department Spokesperson John Kirby. “The agreements finalized [on August 25th] . . . will improve the lives of people in both countries.
“The United States commends both governments for the progress achieved in fulfilling the commitments made in the Brussels Agreement and other Dialogue arrangements, thus moving their countries closer to normalization of relations and along their respective EU paths.”