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news 22 Nov 12

Kosovo Names Coordinator For Serbia Talks

Blerim Shala, an MP and the vice-president of an opposition party, has been appointed Kosovo's Political Coordinator in the EU-led talks with Serbia.

Fatmir Aliu BIRN Pristina

Kosovo's President, Atifete Jahjaga, on Thursday named Blerim Shala as the country's political coordinator in the EU-led dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. Shala’s appointment was publicised on Thursday by the President’s office.

EU-mediated talks in Belgium started in March 2011, three years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.

Serbia has vowed never to recognise Kosovo as a state, but says it is open to deals that improve daily lives on both sides of the [from Serbia's point of view unrecognised] border.

Two high-level political meetings took place recently between the two prime ministers, Ivica Dacic of Serbia and Hashim Thaci of Kosovo.

Shala is vice-president of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and is currently a lawmaker in parliament.

Shala was also in charge of coordination in Kosovo’s former Unity Team from 2006 to 2008.

This had a mandate to negotiate with Serbia on Kosovo's final status under UN’s auspices. It led later to the so-called Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo's independence, which Belgrade refused to endorse.

No details were given on Shala's authority, or on whether Kosovo's current envoy in talks with Serbia, Edita Tahiri will retain her position.

The Kosovo government, in a press release, welcomed Shala's appointment.

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