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news 06 Nov 12

Serbia Prepares Platform for Kosovo Talks

Serbia believes talks with Kosovo on energy will be fruitful, the country's energy minister has said ahead of expected negotiations between the two countries.

Tanjug, B92

The outline of the Serbian platform for dialogue with Kosovo will be announced in the coming weeks, Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic told news agency Tanjug.

Mihajlovic said the government in Belgrade expected to have scenarios for solving energy and telecommunications issues ready by the end of the year.

Kosovo and Serbia began EU-sponsored talks aimed at normalising relations in March 2011. So far, the two sides have reached deals on freedom of movement, university diplomas and regional representation. However, not all the deals have been implemented.

The Kosovo and Serbian prime ministers, Hashim Thaci and Ivica Dacic, respectively, are expected to hold a joint meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on November 7 in Brussels, an EU diplomat told Balkan Insight last week.

When it comes to negotiations on energy, Mihajlovic told Tanjug that she expected Belgrade and Pristina to come to an agreement about "the use of coal in Kosovo in the next 10, 20 or 50 years."

“A negotiating team still has not been assembled, but the ministries of energy and telecommunications - in charge of the issues which will be among the first on the agenda - are working to prepare data, conduct analyses and develop scenarios for possible approaches to solving these issues,” Mihajlovic said.

“There is a separate working group at the Energy Ministry working on this,” she added.

Noting that Kosovo has large deposits of coal and other ores, as well as infrastructure of considerable value, Mihajlovic said this would be "one part of the negotiations, while the other is about the future and potentials."

"It does not benefit anyone in Europe to leave these resources unexploited when the whole continent is struggling with energy," she said, adding she believed Belgrade and Pristina would be able to come to an agreement on how to exploit coal over the coming decades.

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