Today, under EU Facilitation, President Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia and Prime Minister Albin Kurti of Kosovo have reaffirmed the importance of resolving the fate of the remaining Missing Persons, to bring closure to the suffering of their loved ones and to foster lasting reconciliation and peace.
Both Parties have recognised the issue of Missing Persons as a humanitarian one, and noted the urgent need for additional joint efforts to alleviate the situation of the affected families and the wider community.
They have acknowledged the important work done through the Working Group on Missing Persons, chaired by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). As a sign of their joint resolve to ensure full implementation of their respective commitments in the field of Missing Persons, they have endorsed the Declaration on Missing Persons.
They have also committed to agree on the operational details at the next meeting of the EU-facilitated Dialogue on normalisation of relations, at Chief Negotiators level.
Of the 6.065 cases of persons who have gone missing in the period 1 January 1998 – 31 December 2000, 1.621 remain unresolved. More than twenty years after, their families continue to live in grief, unaware of the whereabouts of their loved ones. Families have the right to know the fate of their relatives as does society at large.
Resolving the issue of Missing Persons is not only a humanitarian obligation. It is also a crucial enabler for reconciliation and trust between people. It has become urgent to ensure that the process of identifying burial sites is concluded as soon as possible. Memories are fading and individuals, places and events are more difficult to investigate.
This is why the EU welcomes the Parties’ endorsement of the declaration and expects that the Parties make tangible progress on bringing to a closure the outstanding cases of Missing Persons and on fulfilling their respective obligations towards the families. The EU-chaired Joint Monitoring Committee overseeing the implementation of the Agreement on the path to normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia and its Implementation Annex will regularly review the progress made.