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News 06 Dec 12

Serbia PM Pledges Kosovo Solution in 2013

Serbia will be ready to discuss final solutions for Kosovo in the coming year, Ivica Dacic says.

Marija Ristic BIRN Belgrade

Serbia's Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, on Wednesday met the Serbian leadership following his third meeting with his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci, and the EU Foreign Affairs Chief, Catherine Ashton, in Brussels.

After the meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and other officials, Dacic said he had obtained support to continue negotiations with Kosovo and implement all previously agreed deals.

In Brussels, Serbia and Kosovo agreed that implementation of the border agreement will start on December 10 at two border crossings while each side will appoint a liaison officer.

Commenting on the border agreement, Dacic said he had not signed or agreed anything new, as the previous government had already reached this deal in February.

“These liaison officers are not ambassadors. They will be within the missions to the EU and will coordinate implementation of agreements,” Dacic told the public broadcaster, RTS.

On Thursday, Dacic will meet representatives of Kosovo Serbs who for the past two days have been staging protest at Jarinje, one of the crossing points in northern Kosovo where the IBM agreement should take effect.

Kosovo Serbs oppose the border agreement as tantamount to Serbian recognition of Kosovo's independence.

Under the terms of the IBM agreement, Kosovo and Serbian customs and police officers will stand under one roof once the agreement is put into operation.

“There are no reasons [for Kosovo Serbs] to protest. Serbia will remove those who protest on our side of administrative crossing as such protests need to be in line with state policy and not against the state,” Dacic said.

“We should not play with the destiny of Kosovo. I urge everyone not to start any battles that we cannot win,” he added.

EU-mediated talks in Belgium started in March 2011, three years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.

Serbia has vowed never to recognise Kosovo as a state, but says it is open to deals that improve daily lives on both sides of the [from Serbia's point of view unrecognised] border.

So far, the two sides have reached deals on freedom of movement, university diplomas, regional representation and on trade, but not all the deals have been implemented.

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