Chinese envoy urges Belgrade, Pristina commitment to dialogue toward normalization of ties

China’s UN envoy on Thursday urged Belgrade and Pristina to stay committed to promoting the normalization of bilateral relations through dialogue and consultations after the two sides had halted negotiations last December, Xinhua reports.

Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ma Zhaoxu made the appeal at a Security Council meeting on Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 without the latter’s recognition.

Ma said China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia and understands its legitimate concerns on the Kosovo issue, and that all parties should reach a solution which is acceptable to all through dialogue and negotiation.

“Achieving reconciliation and common development is in the fundamental interests of all peoples,” Ma said, calling on all parties concerned to “put the well-being of their people first, protect the legitimate rights and interests of all communities, and promote economic and social development of all ethnic groups.”

Dominated by ethnic Albanians, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, although it has not been recognized by Belgrade.

The two sides committed to a European Union-mediated dialogue with the signing of the Brussels agreement in 2013.

The negotiations stopped last December, after Pristina decided to increase the tariff on goods imported from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina from 10 to 100 percent, as well as to adopt three draft laws aimed at strengthening the role and capacity of the Kosovo Security Force.

Speaking of these moves, Ma said they are not conducive to enhancing mutual trust and dialogue, calling on parties concerned to refrain from any rhetoric or action that may complicate or escalate the situation.

The Chinese diplomat said the international community should play a constructive role in promoting a proper solution to the Kosovo issue.

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