“Belgrade, Priština to discuss energy next week”

BELGRADE -- Belgrade team head in technical talks Dejan Pavićević has announced that telecommunications and energy will be discussed next week in Brussels.

Dejan Pavićević (Tanjug, file)
Dejan Pavićević (Tanjug, file)

“We will continue the talks next week on several topics, including telecommunications and energy. All competent ministries, including regulatory bodies, will be involved in the talks because there are many problems,” he told Tanjug.

According to him, despite numerous disputable issues, “it is possible to find a solution if both sides are flexible”.

“Those are issues that really need to be closed and I think that if we think about making the life of the people easier and about enabling regular electricity supply, we can find a solution,” Pavićević stressed, adding that both sides were interested in solving the issues.

He noted that solutions reached in the political dialogue would then be taken to the political level.

“We should not prejudge when this will be and when the solutions will be reached because there are many open issues we need to talk about,” the Belgrade team head pointed out.

When asked to comment on allegations in Kosovo Albanian media that the dialogue could end by April, Pavićević said that it was time for Serbia to stop dealing with “their daily politics” and stressed that neither Belgrade nor Brussels set a deadline for the end of the negotiations.

“We cannot know when the dialogue would end and only Priština is speculating on the date. Neither Belgrade nor Brussels are trying to set a deadline for the end of the negotiations. We will talks as long as there are topics and room to talk,” he explained.

The team head said that the negotiating process had never been more transparent, especially its political aspect. He added that PM Ivica Dačić “publicly says everything that is agreed and discussed in Brussels”.

He said that northern Kosovo Serbs who have been protesting against the agreement that envisages that VAT and excise taxes will go to the Kosovo budget were misinformed and that the “money will go to a special fund that will be founded by the EU”.

When asked what exactly had been agreed, Pavićević said that the current regime at the administrative crossings was temporary and that the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 treated Kosovo as a unique customs territory.

According to him, it is alright to talk about a temporary solution because institutions and their functioning in both northern and southern Kosovo would be discussed in the continuation of the talks led by the prime minster.

“Kosovo is defined as a separate customs territory,” he confirmed and added that Kosovo was therefore a CEFTA member.

“We kind of have to accept it. We were trying to reach a solution that would be acceptable to everybody – to the Serb community in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, international community, Belgrade and even Priština,” the Belgrade team chief stressed.

He reiterated that all the money collected at the administrative crossings would go to the EU-established fund for the development of northern Kosovo.

When asked if the money would at least formally go to the Kosovo budget, he said that it would not.

Commenting dissatisfaction of entrepreneurs from northern Kosovo over VAT and excise taxes, Pavićević said that they had had their representative, Office for Kosovo Deputy Director Krstimir Pantić, at the Brussels negotiations.

According to him, a liaison officer would significantly make communication between Belgrade and Priština easier and they “will enable the voice of Serbs south of the Ibar River to be heard”.

Tanjug has learnt that Pavićević could be Belgrade’s liaison officer in Priština.

He said that the liaison officer would have to talk to Serbs who took part in the work of the Kosovo institutions and Albanians.

“We cannot divide Serbs to these and those. The (liaison) officer will be able to make the communication easier and maybe clear some misunderstandings created in the dialogue. Serbia needs to start taking care of the status of Serbs south of the Ibar River and their security,” Pavićević concluded.