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News 07 May 13

Kosovo and Serbia Mull EU Deal Action Plan

Pristina and Belgrade delegations hold their second meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss implementing the EU-led agreement on normalizing relations.

Edona Peci Pristina

Delegations from the two sides, led by the Deputy Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Serbia headed to Belgium on Monday for talks on the EU-brokered agreement.

“We underline the need for the agreement to be implemented as soon as possible…Kosovo is ready for this and expects readiness also from the Serbian side and from international actors like KFOR and EULEX”, the Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister, Hajredin Kuci, said.

Kosovo and Serbia adopted a 15-point draft agreement on normalizing relations, allowing both sides to advance their integration into the European Union, on April 19.

The draft agreement mainly concerns the future of the Serbian community in Kosovo.

The major differences between both parties apear to lie in articles 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the agreement, which deal with the role of Serbs in the Kosovo Police and Kosovo courts.

The deal envisions that the local Serbian community will choose its own police commanders, while the composition of the police generally will reflect the ethnic structure on the ground. The draft also proposes more judges coming from the Serbian minority.

Kosovo included Blerim Shala, coordinator in the dialogue with Belgrade, Ismet Kabashi, State Prosecutor, Enver Peci, head of the Kosovo Judicial Council and Shpend Maxhuni, Chief of the Kosovo Police, in Tuesday’s meetings.

Since the end of the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s, northern Kosovo has been beyond the Pristina government’s control, while Serbia has continued to finance local security, judicial, health and educational institutions.

According to the agreement, an Association of Serbian Municipalities with broad powers will include the four Serb-run northern municipalities of North Mitrovica, Leposavic, Zvecan and Zubin Potok.

But Serbs in the northern part of Kosovo have denounced the agreement, announcing that they intend to declare an autonomous province.

However, the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister, Aleksander Vucic, said the government continued to defend the deal. It "has nothing to hide", he said.

He said he planned to meet all members of the local assemblies in the four municipalities in northern Kosovo, as well other Serbian representatives, to explain the terms.

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