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news 14 Nov 12

UN Chief Hails 'Constructive' Kosovo Talks

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's quarterly report welcomes advances in Serbia-Kosovo talks and expresses hopes that it will lead to total normalisation of relations and lasting peace.

BIRN Belgrade

In his regular quarterly report, UN Secretary General encouraged Serbia and Kosovo to continue their EU-led dialogue and move ahead in applying existing agreements.

"I hail the assurances received from Belgrade and Pristina regarding their readiness and devotion to continuing their strong engagement in the EU brokered dialogue and resolving disputed issues via peaceful means and preserving their joint European prospects," Ban Ki-moon said.

The report is due to be reviewed by the Security Council on November 27.

In the report, which covers July to October 2012, Ki-moon noted positive efforts to implement agreements reached through the dialogue held under EU auspices.

EU-mediated talks in Brussels started in March 2011, three years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

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.

Over the past several months, the two sides have moved to overcome the obstacles that arose from different interpretations of the agreements, the report said.

The Kosovo and Serbia leaders, Hashim Thaci and Ivica Dacic, held two "historic meetings" in Brussels on October 19 and November 7 to discuss relations between the two countries.

The UN chief said he was looking forward to the continuation of the dialogue and he hopes that incentives will be created for the two sides to move towards total normalisation of relations and lasting peace.

Turning to the security situation, Ban Ki-moon described it as relatively calm, especially in the sometimes volatile Serb-run north of Kosovo.

The northern part of Kosovo, which borders Serbia, has experienced bouts of violence. The local population does not recognise Kosovo's independence, or the ethnic Albanian-led government in Pristina.

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