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News 19 Nov 14

Mogherini Urges Action on Kosovo-Serbia Deals

Federica Mogherini, the EU's new foreign policy chief, has called on Kosovo and Serbia to continue implementing deals brokered in Brussels ahead of a resumption of talks.

BIRN
Belgrade

 

Federica Mogherini, the new EU Foreign Policy Chief. | Photo by European External Action Service/Flickr

Following a meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on November 18, Mogherini urged governments in Belgrade and Pristina to continue working on normalising their relations ahead of fresh mediated talks.

“I hope to see the high-level dialogue resume soon, but the EU expects Belgrade and Pristina to continue working on implementation in the meantime,” Mogherini said on Tuesday.

According to a recen report on the Kosovo-Serbia negotiations, only four of 16 agreements reached between them since 2011 have been fully implemented.

The high-level talks have been halted for almost six months, as Kosovo is facing domestic issues on forming a new government following June elections.

However, the talks on a technical level remain ongoing. On November 14, the working group on liaison arrangements met in Brussels and agreed that as of December 1, the liaison officers deployed in Pristina and Belgrade will take over the direct handling of official visits.

Mogherini said she had been interested to hear Dačić's position on the major foreign policy issues of the day.

“We discussed the foreign policy challenges that we are facing. I was particularly interested to hear First Deputy Prime Minister Dačić's views in the light of Serbia's upcoming chairmanship of the OSCE," she said.

“We agreed that the crisis in Ukraine is a first priority and needs to be resolved in accordance with the fundamental principles of the OSCE,” Mogherini wrote.

Serbia will take OSCE chairmanship in 2015. Serbia’s official stance on Ukraine is ambivalent. While it says it respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, it has refused to join the EU sanctions imposed on Russia.

During a speech following the G20 summit in Australia on November 16, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Moscow was trying to spread its influence not only in former Soviet states like Georgia and Moldova, but also in Serbia and Bosnia.

“This is not just about Ukraine. It’s about Moldova, it’s about Georgia,” Merkel said. “If things carry on like this … we will need to raise the issue of Serbia, of the states in the western Balkans,” Merkel added.

The day after, the German newspaper Der Spiegel quoted confidential a German foreign ministry analysis, “Russia's Influence in Serbia,” which describes Moscow's efforts to link Serbia to Russia in detail.

The document stated that the endeavor goes well beyond military cooperation and Russian deliveries of natural gas to Serbia.

Moscow is engaging in “public diplomacy with clear pan-Slavic rhetoric” and enjoys high esteem in the Serbian population, it noted.

 

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