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News 10 Jan 13

Kosovo and Serbia Teams Meet for IBM Talks

Working groups from Kosovo and Serbia on the Integrated Border Management Agreement have met in Brussels, preparing the ground for the next round of EU-led talks.

Edona Peci Pristina

Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson of the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, told Balkan Insight that the experts on both sides "will review implementation of the agreement and prepare input for the next round of the dialogue scheduled for January 17.”

On that day, Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, will again meet his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic.

In the third round of the dialogue, on December 4, 2012, Thaci and Dacic agreed to implement the IBM deal concluded at the end of 2011.

On December 10, 2012, Kosovo and Serbia started to implement the deal at the crossing points in Merdare and Jarinje, and from December 31 at the crossing points of Brnjak and Dheu i Bardhe.

The main disagreement has since been about customs. Belgrade insists that the agreement permits excise goods up to 3.5 tons, and all non-excise goods intended for Serb-run northern Kosovo, to enter Kosovo from Serbia duty-free.

The authorities in Pristina claim the opposite, saying that taxes must be paid on all incoming goods.

The EU-led dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia was launched in March 2011 in order to normalize relations between the parties, both of which seek European integration.

Serbia has vowed never to recognize Kosovo's independence, proclaimed in 20o8, but says it is open to agreements that improve daily lives on both sides of the border.

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