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news 04 Dec 12

Kosovo-Serbia Border Deal to Operate Soon, Thaci

Thaci says long-awaited implementation of border deal to come into operation in coming days.

Edona Peci BIRN Pristina

Kosovo’s government expects to start implementation of the agreement on Integrated Border Management, IBM, with Serbia on December 10.

The Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, said that “implementation of this agreement is a turning point in relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

“This agreement sets the border between Kosovo and Serbia,” he told his cabinet.

“Technical preparations for implementing this process are at the final stage,” he added.

Pristina and Belgrade reached an agreement on IBM in December 2011 within the framework of the technical dialogue facilitated by the European Union.

In December 2011, the parties concluded a technical protocol on implementation of the deal that hasn’t been implemented yet.

The technical dialogue to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia began in March 2011.

During nine rounds of talks between Kosovo’s head of delegation, Edita Tahiri, her Serbian counterpart, Borko Stefanivic, and the EU facilitator, Robert Cooper, seven agreements were reached on issues such as freedom of movement, regional cooperation, recognition of diplomas and the civil registry.

In October the dialogue moved up a level when Kosovo’s Minister Thaci, and the Serbian Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, met for the first time in the office of the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Catherine Ashton.

Another meeting between Thaci, Ashton and Dacic was held in November but no specific agreement was achieved.

Talking about the upcoming meeting on Tuesday, Thaci said: “Discussions will be held on the possibilities… of opening liaison offices for Kosovo in Belgrade and Serbia’s in Pristina.

“We’ll also consider the options to dynamise the agenda on implementing an infrastructural project between Kosovo and Serbia - the highway towards the European corridor in Serbia,” he added.

The political coordinator of the dialogue, Blerim Shala, a deputy head of the oppositional Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, will also be part of the delegation meeting Dacic in Ashton’s office Tuesday.

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