FM says Serbia "testing international opinion"

BELGRADE -- FM Ivan Mrkić says that the position paper, or “non-paper”, represented the views of Serbia's senior officials concerning a possible solution for Kosovo.

Ivan Mrkić (Beta, file)
Ivan Mrkić (Beta, file)

The text of the platform was recently leaked to the press and also distributed to foreign political actors.

Mrkić believes that Serbia should wait for the situation on the ground to settle down for the reactions to the document at the international level to get clearer.

He said that Belgrade had wanted to test as many partners and the document had therefore been sent to permanent members of the UN Security Council, members of the EU, including those that had not recognized Kosovo and to countries that were friends of Serbia's.

“I am still unable to fully qualify the first reactions as we did not get many, but there have been some good comments on certain parts (of the document), coming from some very influential countries,” Mrkić told Tanjug.

He pointed out that the document was a position paper with no title and no header, the fruit of a labor of four months.

“This is our contribution to a final resolution on Kosovo and Metohija, the way we see it,” said Mrkić.

In the past, he said, Serbia was criticized for having a negative approach to the issue of the southern province, opposing everything concerning it while never declaring what it really wants.

This paper is an initiative to overcome that problem, he stressed.

In the meantime, there has been a lot of internal misunderstanding about what the paper is about, the minister said, adding that it is not “a platform on how we will negotiate, as nobody would write such a thing down.”

“Nobody goes public with an attitude they will assume while facing the opposite side. We will continue the dialogue with Priština with the facilitation by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and we will seek to achieve what we have put down on the paper,” he said.

The minister expects a broader perspective of the opinions from abroad on the position paper to arrive at the beginning of January, and believes that this should make Prime Minister Dačić better prepared for the new round of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue, as he will have a clearer picture of the reactions.

Asked to clarify the difference between the non-paper and the text that would be presented in the parliament, Mrkić said that in the parliament some basic principles would be presented that would not pose an obstacle to the government's negotiations.

These principles are mapping out the points for us to know where to begin and what our final goal is, said Mrkić.

Of course, we will not go into any details or specific solutions because it would be to our detriment, he said, adding that the document could even be much less detailed than the non-paper.

Commenting on negative reactions to the wording in the position paper stating that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” Mrkić said it pointed to the fact that Serbia was continuing negotiations on issues that had been agreed upon.

"Just to make things clear, there will certainly be agreements on telecommunications and energy, as the previous government had accepted that,” he said.