News 07 Nov 12

Kacin Wants Missing Persons on Kosovo Talks Agenda

The European Parliament’s rapporteur for Serbia wants the issue of missing persons to be included in the upcoming Belgrade-Pristina talks.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

Jelko Kacin, the European Parliament rapporteur for Serbia, urged the authorities in Kosovo and Serbia to address the pressing issue of more than 1,700 people still missing since the Kosovo war during their talks.

Kacin spoke out on Tuesday, following his meeting with Clint Wiliamson, the head of the EU Special Task Force in charge of investigating the Kosovo organ trafficking claims.

Kacin said that missing persons and the organ trafficking allegations still cast a shadow over relations between the two countries.

“This needs to be carefully investigated as soon as possible…so that the process of normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo can go smoothly,” Kacin said.

“This is especially true when it comes to getting to the bottom of the  alleged organ trafficking, which according to Dick Marty’s report was not massive, but which  did occur on a few occasions,” he added.

Kacin also called on Albania, Kosovo and Serbia to give their full support to Williamson and his team.

The investigation into organ harvesting followed the release of a report by Dick Marty, the then human rights rapporteur at the Council of Europe, in December 2010.

The report alleged that some elements of the KLA, including Kosovo's Prime Minister Hasim Thaci, had trafficked the organs of prisoners during the 1999 conflict.

This is the first time that an EU official has asked that the issue of missing persons be addressed as part of the Belgrade-Pristina talks.

His request comes  on the eve of the second meeting between the Serbian Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, and his counterpart Hashim Thaci, which is scheduled to take place in Brussels on Wednesday.

Despite the meetings, Serbia still opposes Kosovo’s independence, insisting that Kosovo is still its province.

The EU-mediated talks started in March 2011, three years after Kosovo proclaimed its independence.

So far, the two sides have reached deals on freedom of movement, university diplomas and regional representation.

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