Kosovo talks produce deal on customs stamps

BRUSSELS -- The Belgrade-Priština dialogue continued on Friday in Brussels and the delegations reached agreement on customs stamps and cadastre issues.

(file)
(file)

According to Belgrade team chief Borislav Stefanović, the stamp will be inscribed with "Customs of Kosovo", and will not bear "any other insignia related to the (Kosovo Albanian) authorities in Priština".

He also told reporters that he expected the government in Priština to revoke its decision to ban entry of Serbian goods "within seven to ten days".

Stefanović did not offer any details regarding the cadastre deal.

Priština team leader Edita Tahiri confirmed that the seals will not bear any insignia beside the words "Kosovo Customs".

She also asserted that the checkpoints and crossings in Kosovo would be "controlled by the customs and police of the government of Kosovo".

However, according to Beta news agency, Stefanović previously stressed that Serbia cannot and will not accept the Kosovo customs workers at the administrative line checkpoints located between the province and central Serbia.

Both Stefanović and Tahiri described today's meeting as "exceptionally difficult", and that it passed in "negative atmosphere".

Customs stamps, cadastres, telecommunications and university degrees were announced as the topics of negotiations today.

Ahead of the meeting, reports said that the European Union (EU) expects Belgrade and Priština to be able to overcome misunderstandings and achieve progress on issues that will be discussed, diplomatic sources in Brussels have told Tanjug.

"We will probably also talk about the possibility of Kosovo's presence at regional forums, but this will not be an official topic," Borislav Stefanović said earlier in the day, and added:

"What is certain is that we are going in with the conviction that regulating the customs stamp issue, in line with Resolution 1244 and UNMIK's stance, will allow a normal turnover of goods, which will be of great benefit to our people in Kosovo and our companies, and which will completely nullify Priština's unilateral ban on trade with the rest of Serbia."

"We are close to a solution. There are clear indications that we can find a solution both for the stamp and the accompanying customs documentation which does not compromise the positions of the state of Serbia," Stefanović added.

The Belgrade team head pointed out that Serbian institutions in northern Kosovo would not be discussed during the sixth round of the Belgrade-Priština talks in Brussels.

The dialogue was suspended in July, precisely because of disagreements on the solution regarding customs stamps.

As a response to the situation, Priština carried out a unilateral action in an attempt to take over the Brnjak and Jarinje administrative crossings with central Serbia.

The response of Serbs from northern Kosovo was the blockage of roads and administrative crossings.

The crisis ended with an interim agreement with KFOR, which specified that international forces should secure the crossings until mid-September.