Thousands of people gathered in Belgrade on March 17 to demonstrate their opposition to a plan for normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo. The protest came just ahead of high-level talks on the matter, which were scheduled for March 18 in Ohrid, North Macedonia, and were expected to involve Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti, and European Union officials.
The plan being discussed by the leaders implies recognition of Kosovo’s independence, which is not acceptable to Serbia as its constitution regards Kosovo as part of its territory. The Democratic Party of Serbia, which helped organize the protest, promised that it was just the beginning of their opposition to the plan.
According to Milos Jovanovic, the party’s leader, the plan would amount to recognition of Kosovo, regardless of whether it was explicitly stated or not. Some individuals at the protest wore symbols associated with the Wagner group, Russian mercenaries fighting in Ukraine, but their connection to the group is unclear.
On March 17, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell confirmed that European officials had received feedback from Serbia and Kosovo on an implementation annex to the agreement on the road to normalization in preparation for the meeting. However, the leader of a right-wing group that participated in the protest stated that the group opposed any compromises by Vucic with Kurti.
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