EU to host Serbia-Kosovo talks in Brussels without breakthrough

BRUSSELS: Wartime rivals Kosovo and Serbia are holding high-level crisis talks on Thursday which the European Union (EU) mediators hope will de-escalate growing tensions in the Balkans where Russia has been trying to further increase its influence amid the war in Ukraine.

At a crisis meeting arranged in Brussels to reduce rising tensions between the two Western Balkan countries, the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia were unable to come up with a solution.

Josep Borrell, the EU's chief of foreign policy said, "today there is no deal, but we don't lose up," a statement was released on Thursday.

Tensions have widspered between Serbia and Kosovo, with ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo blocking roads and erecting barricades on July 31 to protest Kosovo's decision to oblige them to use vehicle license plates issued in Pristina.

After Kosovo agreed to continue to accept identification cards and licence plates provided by Serbia for Kosovar nationals for an additional 30 days, or until the end of August, the situation became more stable.

In his remarks, Borrell expressed concern that leaving the matter unsolved could trigger violence once more and that there was still time to find a long-term solution. Borrell said, "I believe that both President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti acknowledged that there is no other way to resolve this issue except via negotiation.

A "symptom" of the ongoing regional war, according to the top EU ambassador, is the current violence. After a war, Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 1999, and it independently declared independence in 2008.

For years, the European Union has attempted to serve as a mediator between the two nations.

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