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Serbia, Türkiye to improve ties, continue talks for Balkans, Kosovo: President Vucic

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published October 25,2023
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (AA Photo)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Wednesday his government will continue to work to develop relations with Türkiye and the continuation of political dialogue.

"We have demonstrated the highest level of relations between the two countries in modern history," Vucic wrote on social media after meeting Turkish Defense Minister Yaşar Güler.

Vucic said Güler's visit to Belgrade has extreme importance.

"The visit will prove and additional contribution to the very important role that Serbia and Türkiye play in maintaining peace and stability throughout the Balkans," he said.

Güler's visit to the Serbian capital came after Türkiye took command of NATO's peacekeeping mission (KFOR) in Kosovo earlier this month.

At least 450 Turkish troops are participating in KFOR.

Vucic said Serbia is determined to continue the EU's dialogue process with Pristina for normalization of relations.

"I pointed out that at this moment it is primarily necessary to ensure the safety of the Serbian people in Kosovo," said Vucic.

Güler later met his Serbian counterpart, Milos Vucevic.

Vucevic said in a statement that Güler's visit came at the right moment, taking into account everything that is happening in the Western Balkans region.

"The dominant topic of our conversation was the issue of security in Kosovo and Metohija. We are encouraged by the assurances we received from Mr. Güler regarding the security of the Serbian community in Kosovo and Metohija," said Vucevic.

Vucevic added that Serbia and the Serbs in Kosovo do not have any problem with the presence of KFOR members.

The statement said Güler ensured Serbia and Serbs in Kosovo that Türkiye would do everything to preserve stability and security.

"Our country, which took over the command of KFOR, will continue to give priority to stability, security and public order in an impartial manner," said Güler.

Under UN Security Council Resolution 1244, NATO has led a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo since 1999. Currently, KFOR has more than 4,500 troops contributed by 27 NATO allies and partners.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and was recognized by many countries, including Türkiye. But Belgrade has never recognized Kosovo and claims that it is still part of Serbia.

"Belgrade is determined in the dialogue process with Pristina, but at this point, I informed the Minister that ensuring the security of the Serbs in the north of Kosovo is a priority. I also stated that the mutual agreements should be implemented without further delay," said Vucic.