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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.
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.
The European Commission may postpone its progress report on Serbia while the prime ministers of Kosovo and Serbia set a new meeting in Brussels to continue EU-led talks.
The EU is still mediating between Belgrade and Pristina behind the scenes in the hopes of securing a deal on Kosovo before April 22.
Europe should not offer Belgrade a start date for talks until it offers its own minorities the same privileges it demands for the Serbs in Kosovo.
The Belgrade government has refused a deal with Pristina aimed at normalising relations, claiming that it endangers the basic rights of the Serb minority in north Kosovo.
Serbia says it will seek a new round of talks with Kosovo, blaming the failure of the last round on the lack of safeguards offered to the Kosovo Serbs.
Serbia must weigh up whether to give crucial ground on Kosovo in order to save its EU bid - as deputy premier warns of equally 'catastrophic choices' lying ahead.
While Alexander Vucic is in the spotlight over the failed talks with Kosovo, broader disunity on the Kosovo issue within Serbia’s ruling coalition has also been blamed.
Kosovo expressed hope Serbia that 'will accept reality' in an agreement of normalizing ties - while Kosovo opposition parties hail the lack of an agreement with Serbia as good news.
Belgrade and Pristina have agreed on future policing in the planned Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo - but have not agreed on judges and the presence of the military, an EU diplomat told Balkan Insight.
Pristina and Belgrade officials in Brussels have failed to reach deal on the Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo.
Serbian and Kosovo officials are meeting in Brussels for an eighth round of talks, dominated by the issue of the planned Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo.
Pristina and Belgrade have been looking at places to establish permanent border crossing points, but their continued dialogue has sparked protests by Albanians in northern Kosovo.
Ahead of the eighth round of Belgrade-Pristina talks, Serbian Deputy Prime minister warns that the country's EU integration will come to a halt if the talks fail.
EULEX judges at the Mitrovica Basic Court convicted three of six defendants of an unlawful attack on the premises of the court in the northern part of Mitrovica on March 17, 2008.
As EU officials voice optimism that Kosovo and Serbia will shortly reach a deal on the Serb-run north of Kosovo, Serbian top officials met ahead of a 'historic' round of talks.
Belgrade and Pristina finally agreed on the future of Serb-run North Kosovo in the tenth round of EU-led talks on Friday.