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news 30 Jun 15

EU-led Serbia Kosovo Talks End in Stalemate

Leaders of Serbia and Kosovo failed to reach an agreement on four key issues at a meeting in Brussels on June 29, each side blaming the other for the logjam.

Igor Jovanovic
BIRN
Belgrade
Meeting in Brussels | Photo by EEAS

After 16 hours of talks in Brussels, leaders of Serbia and Kosovo and the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, failed to reach agreement on four outstanding isues.

Mogherini said the two sides made progress on the establishment of the Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo, and on arrangements in telecommunications.

“We will now reflect on future steps,” a short statement said.

Besides these two issues, Serbia and Kosovo discussed energy issues and the removal of the barricade from bridge that divides the northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica into Albanian and Serbia sectors.

Serbia's Aleksandar Vucic said the two delegations had been close to reaching an agreement on the Serbian municipalities - but the Kosovo side had objected to the proposed powers it would enjoy.

"The Pristina delegation did not want to accept the Association having even the powers that municipalities already have in Kosovo, which are the powers over urban planning, health and economic development," he said.

The Serbian leader added that some progress had been made in the field of telecommunications but no agreement had finalized there, either.

“I am afraid the Pristina delegation came here in order not to sign the agreement,” Vucic claimed.

The Serbian Prime Minister said he could not say whether the failure to reach agreements with Kosovo would set back Serbia's European integration plans but he was ready to take the consequences.

Serbia wants to open the first chapters in its negotiations with the EU by the end of this year and concluding agreements with Kosovo are an important part of that process.

The Kosovo Prime Minister, Isa Mustafa, told reporters that progress has been made in telecommunications and on the Association of Serbian municipalities, but said that his delegation had been unable to accept the Serbian delegation's demands.

"They wanted the association [of municipalities] to have executive powers but that is against our law and constitution," Mustafa said.

He agreed that progress was made on telecommunications and on an international telephone code for Kosovo, but said that agreement had also not been signed because the EU wanted all four agreements signed at the same time.

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