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news 28 Nov 12

US Official and Serbian PM Agree Kosovo Talks

Deputy Assistant US Secretary of State and Serbia's Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, agreed on the need to continue EU-led Belgrade-Pristina talks.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

As part of a regular working visit to the Balkans, Deputy Assistant US Secretary of State Philip Reeker met with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic in Belgrade on Tuesday to discuss the Kosovo issue.

The Serbian government press office issued a statement saying that they had agreed that the continuation of Belgrade-Pristina talks would contribute to stability in the region and bring Serbia closer to the EU.

"It was estimated that [Belgrade-Pristina] dialogue is the only way to establish lasting stability and that its aim [of the dialogue] is to achieve a joint and equitable solution," the statement said.

EU-mediated talks between the two sides started in Brussels 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.

Two high-level political meetings took place recently between the two prime ministers, Dacic of Serbia and Hashim Thaci of Kosovo.

Normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is the key condition of Serbia's further progress on the EU path.

Ahead of the visit of the US official, incidents were reported in the Serb-run north of Kosovo. An explosion was heard in the vicinity of the border crossing at Brnjak while gunfire was heard in the divided town of Mitrovica.

This is the second visit by Reeker to Belgrade this year. In July, he held a meeting with Dacic, who was the prime minister-designate at the time.

On Monday, Reeker visited Montenegro, where he met the Montenegrin Foreign Minister, Nebojsa Kaludjerovic.

A press release following the visit said that the new government in Podgorica could count on the support of the US in the process of Montenegro's accession to the European Union and NATO.

According to Bosnian media, Reeker will visit Bosnia and Herzegovina for talks with the country's officials on steps that Bosnia need to make towards membership of the EU and NATO.

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