PM: Most difficult part of dialogue lies ahead

OPLENAC, NEW YORK -- Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić said on Friday that "the most difficult part of the dialogue with Priština lies ahead".

Dačić is seen in Oplenac on Friday (Tanjug)
Dačić is seen in Oplenac on Friday (Tanjug)

He explained that this was the case as the issue of "parallel institutions" in Kosovo and Metohija has to be resolved - "which is only possible by reaching an agreement on the functioning of the community of Serb municipalities".

“Without that agreement, Serbia will not have a moral or political right to abolish any of its institutions in Kosovo, and there are only few of them,“ Dačić told reporters in Oplenac, central Serbia.

According to the prime minister, the establishment of jurisdiction is the process that could lead to a sustainable solution, and that would have to be fully implemented so as to eliminate the paralysis of institutions in Kosovo and Metohija.

“Here, we are not talking about the recognition of independence of Kosovo-Metohija, and that is clearly stated in the Platform and Resolution that the Serbian parliament passed. Our interest is that the territory, which has also been defined as a whole in Resolution 1244, functions in a sustainable way, that is that Serbs can claim their rights there, which is not possible without institutions and their own self-government,” Dačić said.

He added that Serbia is ready for talks and agreements and that Serbia's policy is clear and established by the Platform and Resolution.

“Few days ago, a meeting of the state leadership was held on my initiative, at which a high degree of unity was demonstrated and all that we have been talking about up to this point,” Dačić concluded.

The EU-sponsored Kosovo dialogue will resume in Brussels on February 22, when Dačić is set to once again meet with Hashim Thaci.

"Most important part of dialogue next week"

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said in Washington on Thursday evening after a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry that the most important part of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue is to take place next week when the two prime ministers will meet.

She also underscored that the U.S. was "an incredibly valuable partner in that effort".

Ashton thanked Kerry, who commended the efforts she has been putting in the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Priština.

However, the U.S. secretary of state noted that there were "still challenges to face".

"She is really working diligently to bring the sides closer together so as to find a final solution," Kerry said.