Serbia, Kosovo talks in Brussels fail but new round would be held in July

Photo: EU

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic hit out at Kosovo's new PM Albin Kurti on Tuesday after talks in Brussels failed to make progress towards a solution to one of Europe's most intractable territorial disputes, AFP reported. The Balkan neighbours were resuming decade-long negotiations mediated by the EU for the first time in almost a year, hoping to resolve differences still poisoning relations more than 20 years after they separated in war.

The meeting was the first since Kosovo's left-wing reformist PM Albin Kurti claimed a landmark win in parliamentary elections in February, pledging to take a new tack in the talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

And the encounter appeared to get heated as both men laid out their positions. Vucic alleged Kurti had "demanded" Serbian recognition and refused to discuss a 2013 deal to set up ten Serb-majority "municipalities" in Kosovo that has never been implemented

"I've never attended this kind of a meeting in my life. Complete lack of responsibility," Vucic said in televised comments. "The man (Kurti) came to ask me – when are you going to recognise independent Kosovo. I told him 'never', and he exploded."

For his part, Kurti called the talks "constructive". "We will take part in this process which is difficult," he told Kosovan media. "The Serbian side talked about old proposals, we brought four new proposals which were refused by the Serbian side."

EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak admitted: "It was not an easy meeting, but it was important that it happened. "Both leaders had a very open and frank exchange on what they each want from the dialogue," he said. Despite the tough atmosphere both sides agreed to press on with the talks and Lajcak said a new round would happen "before the end of July".

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