New border deal with Kosovo is 'gentleman's agreement': Serbian premier

Use of ID cards issued by Kosovo is done solely for practical reasons, says Ana Brnabic.

New border deal with Kosovo is 'gentleman's agreement': Serbian premier

The deal agreed with Kosovo on personal documents is a "gentleman's agreement" with EU guarantees, Serbia's prime minister said on Sunday.

Ana Brnabic, the prime minister-designate for the new government, told local media that the agreement on freedom of movement signed by Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels in 2011 reads that each side can issue accompanying documents to the citizens of the other side.

"It is a gentleman's agreement with EU guarantees, which is oral and does not have to bind anyone in the future," said Brnabic.

According to the premier, Albanians from Kosovo will not be issued any accompanying documents to enter Serbia.

However, at the crossings, there will be signs with a disclaimer that the use of identity cards issued by Kosovo is done solely for practical reasons.

"It is not a piece of paper, but a board three by two meters wide at the administrative crossings with the so-called disclaimer that enabling the use of identity cards issued by Pristina is done solely for practical reasons, and that it cannot be interpreted as recognition of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo," said Brnabic.

Meanwhile, the Kosovo side will not issue accompanying documents to Serbs from Kosovo who have identity cards of Serbia, and they will be able to freely cross into central Serbia and return to the territory of Kosovo.

Brnabic added that Serbia received guarantees from the EU that Serbs from Kosovo will be able to cross into central Serbia and return to the territory of the province with identity cards issued by Serbia's Interior Ministry.

Serbia and Kosovo on Saturday agreed on a new border policy under an EU-facilitated dialogue process, Josep Borrell, the bloc's foreign policy chief, announced.

Launched in 2011, the EU-led Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue aims to normalize relations between the Western Balkan neighbors.

The last high-level meeting with the participation of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti took place on Aug. 18 at the headquarters of the EU diplomatic service in Brussels.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, with most UN member states, including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Türkiye, recognizing it as a separate autonomous country from its neighbor.

Serbia continues to see Kosovo as its territory.

Hüseyin Demir

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