Meeting Vučić, Pahor counts on political wisdom of region’s leaders

Belgrade – The impact of the war in Ukraine on the Western Balkans and the region’s European perspective topped the agenda as President Borut Pahor met his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade on Saturday. Pahor hopes the region’s leaders will muster enough political wisdom to solve all bilateral issues through dialogue.

“I hope that the leaders of the Western Balkans and the surrounding region, will manage to muster enough political wisdom and will to resolve bilateral issues through dialogue and peaceful means and try to restore trust,” Pahor said.

He believes this will also be a message of the Brdo-Brijuni summit when he hosts the region’s leaders in Brdo pri Kranju on 12 September, his office told the STA after the meeting.

Pahor and Vučić discussed all issues that are vital for the success of the Brdo-Brijuni initiative on two goals that have been at the forefront for the past eleven years, that is the region’s European perspective and the peace, stability and development of the region.

Pahor reiterated that the war in Ukraine is not contributing to the stability in the region, but said that both him and Vučić understood well that considering the distrust and bilateral issues in the region, sufficient political will was required to preserve peace and security and give countries in the region the prospect of EU membership.

He called for EU accession talks to be accelerated with Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia, and for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be granted candidate country status by the end of the year.

Addressing a joint press conference after the meeting, Pahor announced a revival of the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans in the second half of the year.

“It’s no secret that, as a friend of the region, I support the Open Balkans initiative and congratulate Vučić and his colleagues on the progress of this initiative. This is one of the few constructive initiatives for integration and cooperation in the region,” Pahor was quoted as saying by the Serbian press agency Tanjug.

However, he also emphasized that the Open Balkan initiative was not a substitute for European integration, but “is a great friend of enlargement and corresponds to and complements the process”.

After Serbia, Pahor will also visit Prishtina on Wednesday to meet President Vjosa Osmani.

Asked by reporters what his message there would be, Pahor said it would be that “the dialogue should be more dynamic, that there is a lack of trust, and that apart from Belgrade and Prishtina nobody can solve these complicated issues, but that avoiding them does not lead anywhere,” he was quoted by Tanjug.

Apart from Vučić and Osmani, the Brdo-Brijuni summit will also feature the the presidents of Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and the presiding trio of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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