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Kosovo, Serbia vow to work together to identify war missing

On the agenda the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities

03 May, 10:03
(ANSA-AFP) - BRUSSELS, MAY 3 - The leaders of Kosovo and Serbia promised to work together to urgently identify the remains of people still missing following the 1990s conflict, the EU's foreign policy chief said Tuesday. Of the 6,065 cases of people who have gone missing following the 1998-99 war, 1,621 remain unresolved, Josep Borrell said. The pledge came after Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic held talks in Brussels mediated by the European Union to normalise ties between the two countries. The fate of the missing is one of many hot-button issues thwarting the normalisation. Kurti and Vucic "reaffirmed the importance of resolving the fate of the remaining missing persons, to bring closure to the suffering of their loved ones and to foster lasting reconciliation and peace", Borrell said in a statement.

They also "noted the urgent need for additional joint efforts to alleviate the situation of the affected families and the wider community", he added. The "operational details" will be agreed at the next meeting of the EU-facilitated talks at the chief negotiators' level. "Resolving the issue of missing persons is not only a humanitarian obligation. It is also a crucial enabler for reconciliation and trust between people," Borrell said.

Kurti later said the agreement started the talks on a "high positive note".

One of Serbia's demands during talks is an Association of Serb Majority Municipalities that would provide Serbs with a degree of autonomy within Kosovo. Vucic told reporters after Tuesday's talks that "Pristina does not want to fulfil the obligation.

It's clear to me, we've reached a wall." But Kurti said after the meeting that Kosovo was "interested in finding a solution".

"I proposed a draft vision showing the framework governing minority rights... Serbs will have rights and together we will have a society that leaves no one behind." The Kosovo war, the last of the 1990s conflicts that tore apart the former Yugoslavia, claimed some 13,000 lives. It ended after a NATO bombing campaign forced Serb forces to withdraw. (ANSA-AFP).

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