TIRANA, Albania — Kosovo’s prime minister Wednesday deplored the fact that some Western powers reportedly have set another condition ahead of Kosovo's joining the Council of Europe.

Kosovo media reported that France and Germany want Kosovo to take a significant step toward establishing an association of its Serb-majority municipalities in the north to unblock a vote of full membership a week from Friday at the the continent’s foremost human rights body.

Ethnic Albanians comprise the country's overall majority with about 93% of the population. The association would coordinate work on education, health care, land planning and economic development in the Serb-majority cities and towns.

There were no immediate official statements or confirmations of the reports from Paris or Berlin.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti said Kosovo has fulfilled all the criteria for membership and has been approved by the body's political affairs committee and a vote at its parliamentary assembly.

“Taking the association out of the package, putting it at the center of gravity as a priority emergency is not possible,” Kurti said at a news conference.

Despite assurances from the United States and the European Union, Kosovo fears such an association would be a step toward creating a Serb mini-state with wide autonomy, similar to the Republika Srpska in Bosnia.

It was first agreed on in Brussels in 2013 and approved by the Kosovo parliament. But Kosovo’s Constitutional Court later deemed it unconstitutional because it wasn’t inclusive of other ethnicities and could entail executive powers.

There is currently no new draft to be sent to the Constitutional Court to decide whether it is within constitutional boundaries.

The association, which is one point at last year’s agreements reached by Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, cannot be treated separately.

Speaking from Washington in an online news conference, Gabriel Escobar, the U.S. envoy to the Kosovo-Serbia talks, said he and EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak believed “the normalization agreement should not have been that hard to implement.”

“Unfortunately both sides have failed to honor that commitment,” he said, noting that Kosovo and Serbia would get more investment and other earnings in the economic, political and diplomatic agenda.

“In return, the two countries had to recognize and that they would have to work together to make the life of people who are essentially dual citizens in Kosovo much better,” said Escobar at his last news conference before leaving the post.

The EU-facilitated normalization talks between Kosovo and Serbia have failed to make progress and Brussels has warned both that refusal to compromise jeopardizes their chances of joining the bloc.

Tensions remain high between the two countries.

The 1998-1999 war between Serbia and Kosovo killed about 13,000 people, mostly Kosovo Albanians. It ended after a 78-day NATO bombing campaign that compelled Serbian forces to withdraw from Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008 — a move Belgrade refuses to recognize.

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