- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
Warning: igbinary_unserialize_header: unsupported version: 1631204660, should be 1 or 2 in /var/www/www.balkaninsight.com/lib/vendor/hat/common/cache/Cache.php on line 1674 Warning: igbinary_unserialize_header: unsupported version: 1631203642, should be 1 or 2 in /var/www/www.balkaninsight.com/lib/vendor/hat/common/cache/Cache.php on line 1674
Serbian Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, sat down at the same table with his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci, in Belgium on Friday – in spite of the fact that Serbia has an arrest warrant out for the Kosovo leader.
The historic meeting took place in Brussels on Friday with the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. Before the joint meeting, the two Balkan officials met Ashton separately.
Ashton issued a statement saying the topic of the meeting was the continuation of EU-mediated Serbia-Kosovo talks, which started in March 2011.
“We agreed to continue the dialogue on normalisation of relations between the two sides and both are committed to working together,” the statement reads.
According to the statement, the joint meeting took place in a good and constructive atmosphere. “We will meet again soon,” the statement added.
Dacic told the Serbian media after the meeting that Serbia had not changed its position on never recognising Kosovo’s independence.
But, he added: “I think it’s time for a historic agreement, and we are ready for final status talks.”
The joint meeting came as surprise, as Serbia bitterly opposes Kosovo’s independence, proclaimed in 2008, and has since boycotted any events where Kosovo officials represented themselves under the name of “Kosovo”.
Paradoxically, the first top Serbian official to meet Thaci was the former right-hand man of the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, who fought a war with NATO to keep the mainly Albanian then province of Kosovo inside Serbia.
In Serbia, the Kosovo leader was sentenced to ten years in prison for terrorism.
In July, Thaci and Boris Tadic, the former Serbian President, shook hands at a Croatian summit in Dubrovnik.
At the time, Dacic was critical of the move, noting that Thaci was suspected in Serbia of links to organ trafficking. “Boris Tadic’s move is an absolute enigma to me,” Dacic said back then.
Four political parties aspiring to form the new government in Kosovo have handed management of the crucial EU-led talks with Serbia to the nationalistic Levizja Vetevendosja party - well known for its opposition to the dialogue.
Kosovo’s representatives in talks with Serbia do not have the mandate to reach agreements because Pristina still has no government three months after national elections, analysts say.
As a condition for supporting an opposition coalition seeking to form a government after recent polls, the nationalist Vetevendosje Movement wants EU-backed dialogue with Belgrade to stop.
Hashim Thaci and Ivica Dacic, leaders of Kosovo and Serbia, reached an agreement in Brussels on the police in northern Kosovo.
Serbia is threatening to quit negotiations with Kosovo after the authorities in Pristina banned Serbian officials from traveling to Kosovo during the election campaign there.
The election commission has stepped in to calm a row over the logo on ballot papers for Kosovo’s local polls in November which had threatened to discourage Serbs from voting.
The success of the local elections in Kosovo on November 3 pose a crucial test both for Belgrade and Pristina, UN officials said.
The 15th round of negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina ended on Tuesday without a final agreement on the ballots to be used in the November local elections, or on telecommunications and energy.
Ahead of the upcoming Pristina-Belgrade meeting in Brussels, disagreements persist over the logo to be printed on the ballots for the November local elections in Kosovo.
As a dispute rumbles on over the use of symbols on upcoming Kosovo local election ballots, the OSCE has urged all parties to find a mutually agreeable solution.
No Serb political parties have registered with Kosovo's election commission so far to take part in the local elections scheduled for November.
A petition to amend a controversial law intended to help integrate Serbs into the Pristina-run system by offering amnesties for past resistance has been sent to Kosovo’s president.
Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said Serbian parallel police structures in northern Kosovo have already been dismantled, while parallel courts are to close soon.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton strongly backed the amnesty law that is aimed at integrating Kosovo Serbs into Pristina’s legal system by decriminalising past resistance.
The Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Serbia are reportedly close to reaching significant deals on telecommunications and energy.
Belgrade and Pristina finally agreed on the future of Serb-run North Kosovo in the tenth round of EU-led talks on Friday.