“Belgrade, Priština can reach agreement”

BELGRADE -- An agreement between Belgrade and Priština is achievable and it is the only way to resolve the situation in the region, says Miroslav Lajčak.

Miroslav Lajčak (Beta, file)
Miroslav Lajčak (Beta, file)

The EU special representative and Slovak foreign minister added that it was also important so Serbia and Kosovo could make progress on the EU pathway.

He stressed that Serbs in Kosovo should be given certain institutional protection.

“At a session of the EU Foreign Affairs Council last week, (EU High Representative) Catherine Ashton informed us about the progress in the dialogue. Her meetings in Kosovo and Belgrade and a visit of partners from Belgrade with whom she had a working dinner, are aimed at informing a wider political scene both in Serbia and in Kosovo about where we currently are in the dialogue. It is clear that these meetings represent an effort to overcome disagreements that exist today,” Lajčak pointed out.

According to him, the fact is that Serbs in Kosovo feel unprotected and request from Belgrade and other participants of the dialogue some guarantees, including institutional ones. On the other hand, Kosovo is afraid of a structure that would have a power of veto and a way of making the entire system dysfunctional.

“I am sure there is something in between. Therefore, there has to be some institutional protection but it cannot be used for blockade,” Lajčak said.

He believes that normalization of relations between Belgrade and Priština is possible “because the main political powers understand it is necessary“.

“They understand that the normalization means victory for both sides. Because confrontations are not helping anyone. Serbian political representatives have clearly shown how important it is for the country to start the EU accession negotiations process even though it has at the same time made it clear that there is a certain limit as to what they are ready to do in the process. Still, a great level of responsibility has been shown so far in the process,” he added.

When asked if Serbia should abolish its institutions in Kosovo in order to get a date for the start of the EU accession talks he said:

“My answer is very simple. Whatever needs to be done so the country would get a date and become a member, should be done”.

Lajčak believes Serbia will get the date in April.

“I believe you will. I think Serbia deserves it. I think it is maybe half a step away from the goal,” he stressed.