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News 20 Dec 12

Thaci Rejects Serbian Plans For North Kosovo

Kosovo Prime Minister dismisses Serbia's "platform" for Kosovo, ruling out calls for special autonomy for the Serb-run north as well as territorial partition.

Edona Peci Pristina

Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, on Wednesday said that Serbia's recently unveiled plans for Kosovo should be "filed away", along with other failed projects.

“That project will remain in the files of Belgrade’s wishes, like all the other failed projects from the time of [the 19th-century Serbian nationalist] Garasanin to that of current President [of Serbia, Tomislav] Nikolic,” he said.

Thaci said the plan was “a continuation of Belgrade’s old plans with regard to Kosovo... a plan that cannot be realized in any circumstances, with regard to autonomy in Kosovo or territorial partition.”

He also said that the plan was “anti-European, and against peace and stability in Kosovo and the region”.

Serbia's state "platform" was handed to top-officials in Belgrade on Sunday, although the general public has yet to see the exact contents.

Serbia’s Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, said only that there was now general agreement amongst all senior officials on a unified policy.

According to the Serbian media, the platform will be presented to parliament this week by President Nikolic.

In the absence of hard details, the daily newspaper Vecernje Novosti reported that it will envisage the broadest possible autonomy for the mainly Serbian north of Kosovo, saying the area could become "some kind of entity, such as the Republika Srpska" in Bosnia.

The northern part of Kosovo is predominantly populated by Serbs who reject all contact with Kosovo’s institutions.

Its fate remains the subject of dispute between Pristina and Belgrade. However, EU officials hope to resolve it within the Brussels dialogue that they are leading, aimed at normalizing relations between both parties, which began in 2011.

The 0utlines of a future deal are far from clear, for Kosovo authorities insists on the territorial integrity of the state, the north included, while Serbian officials have stressed their right to defend - and financially subsidise - the local Serbian majority in the area.

As a result, Belgrade finances a whole network of so-called "parallel institutions" in northern Kosovo, including schools, hospitals, post offices and local government authorities.

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