Belgrade has continued its tradition of not showing up at meetings where Kosovo leaders are due to be present, skipping a regional summit in Dubrovnik.
For the fifth year in a row Serbian officials have refused to take part in a Croatian summit held in the coastal resort of Dubrovnik.
Berislav Zivkovic, from the Croatian Foreign Ministry, which organises the event, said Serbia was invited to the event, as in previous years, but no one showed up.
Serbian officials have skipped the conference over the years in protest over Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s participation, who is again scheduled to attend.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. But Serbia does not recognise the new country and Belgrade has refused to participate in any conferences where Kosovo is represented as an independent country with its own state symbols.
In February, the two countries agreed in EU-mediated talks that Kosovo would be represented at regional forums simply as “Kosovo” with a footnote.
This would read: “This label [i.e. “Kosovo”] does not prejudge the status of Kosovo and is in accordance with [UN] Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the ICJ on Kosovo’s declaration of independence.”
However, the deal is yet to be fully implemented.
The summit in Dubrovnik from July 6-7 will focus on state-building and the region’s European future, gathering several regional prime ministers, foreign ministers and other representatives from Europe, America and the southern Mediterranean.
The summit is being held under the title “Croatia Summit 2012 – State Building and the EU Experience”.
Among other things, delegates will discuss current political, security and economic aspects and opportunities to build a stable and prosperous future for Southeast Europe and the wider neighbourhood.
Besides Thaci, the meeting is attended by Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Luksic and the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, as well as the Prime Ministers of Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and the NATO Secretary General will also participate.