Turkey says it’s ready to mediate Kosovo-Serbia talks

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an (R) and Kosovo's outgoing Prime Minister Hashim Thaci are seen together in Pristina.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said on Wednesday that Turkey is ready to mediate Kosovo-Serbian peace talks if his country is invited.Erdo?an told reporters in a joint press conference with his Kosovar counterpart Hashim Thaci in capital Prishtine that Turkey is ready to immediately start mediating between Serbia and Kosovo in peace talks if his country is invited. Erdo?an met with Thaci on Wednesday during his two-day visit to Kosovo to discuss bilateral ties and the recent developments in the country. Kosovo declared its independence in 2008 and 69 countries, including Turkey, have so far recognized the nascent state. Erdo?an said the International Court of Justice’s July 22 ruling, claiming that Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence does not violate international law, will help further steps to be taken for the future of the three-year-old country. Serbia vowed following the ruling that it will never recognize the independence of Kosovo. Observers say Serbia’s EU membership aspirations will spur the country to soften its position regarding Kosovo. Erdo?an said he believes the ICJ’s ruling will positively improve relations between Belgrade and Prishtine. Thaci said Kosovo will be please if Turkey is involved in the process. Kosovo dissolved parliament and set early elections for Dec. 12 after the grand coalition government that declared independence from Serbia was brought down in a confidence vote on Tuesday. In Ankara Erdo?an told reporters ahead of his visit to Kosovo that the no-confidence vote won’t affect his schedule in the newly independent Balkan country. Erdo?an is scheduled to meet with Kosovar Parliament speaker Jakup Krasniqi during his visit. The prime minister told reporters that he will also visit Prizren City, where ethnic Turkish people are predominantly residing. Erdo?an stressed the comprehensive, historical, cultural and social relations the two countries enjoy and said ethnic Turkish people living in Kosovo constitute a strong cultural brigade. Noting that Turkey has been one of the first countries that recognized the independence of Kosovo, Erdo?an said Turkey has always continued to support the nascent country both before and after the independence, adding that Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (T?KA) continues to make serious investments in Kosovo, particularly in preserving historical and cultural heritage. Erdo?an said Turkey wishes for a multicultural, democratic, prosperous and stable Kosovo and that Turkey continues to support Kosovo as much as possible. He added that there are 530 Turkish troops serving in the NATO peacekeeping mission, and he is also considering visiting them. 

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