January 17, 2013
Prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo started 4th round of face-to-face to normalize relations. The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo, which Serbia considers a renegade province, have begun a fourth round of negotiations aiming at normalizing their relations.
Thaci (l), Ashton and Dacic will have dinner in
Brussels on Thursday (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)
BRUSSELS – Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic have meet first with European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Ashton then meet separately with Kosovo’s prime minister, Hashim Thaci. After that, the three meet together for a working dinner, a spokeswoman for Ashton told reporters later tonight.
Kosovo leader Hashim Thaci has said Serbia should stop talking about autonomy for north Kosovo and pull out its security forces instead.
Speaking to EUobserver in Brussels on Thursday (17 January) ahead of a dinner with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton, he said: “The ‘platform’ of Serbia doesn’t have any value. It’s purely for internal public opinion.”
Last week Serbia adopted a national “platform” on what to do about ethnic Serbs in north Kosovo – the biggest problem standing in the way of better ties with both Pristina and Brussels. On one hand, it implicitly recognises that Serbia has no authority in Kosovo.
But on the other hand, it saysethnic Serb enclaves should have an autonomous police force and courts, while Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo should have Vatican-type status.
For their part, EU foreign ministers recently said Kosovo should have a “single” administration. But they also said Kosovo should respect the “particular needs” of ethnic Serbs.
Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, has been recognized as independent by many nations, but not by Serbia. Nevertheless, normalizing relations with Kosovo in areas such as border management, telecommunications and regional co-operation is a condition for Serbia fulfilling its wish to join the European Union.
A statement is planned at the end of Thursday’s meeting.
Associated Press News Agency