PM: We reached best possible solution

BELGRADE -- I expect the ruling coalition to accept Brussels' offer which is the best Belgrade can get at the moment, Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has said.

Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)
Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)

“This is the best we can do at the moment. This is the first time that the north and the Serb community in Kosovo have been internationally recognized,” he told Radio Television of Serbia (RTS).

He stressed that Serbia had not recognized Kosovo’s independence and that it would continue negotiations on the status.

According to him, this is the first time that guarantees have been given that the Kosovo army will not be able to enter northern Kosovo without KFOR and NATO’s consent.

“We expect that these steps will be highly appreciated and that they will have direct consequences on the status, rating, economic life and standard of people,” Dačić pointed out.

According to the prime minister, Serbia will by Monday inform EU High Representative Catherine Ashton whether it accepts the offer. He stressed that this was the first time that the international community had been on Serbia’s side.

“It is certain that these were long and difficult talks, they lasted more than six months, we met ten times and we did not only negotiate with (Kosovo PM) Hashim Thaci but with the entire West and we were alone against them all most of the time,” he stressed.

The PM reiterated that the talks on Kosovo were impossible to return under the UN auspices and noted that Belgrade had “moved inside determined framework” set by international agreements.

Dačić said that the Serbian side had refused to accept point 14 two weeks ago which referred to Kosovo’s membership in the UN and OSCE and that it had now been changed.

“We requested several key things in an agreement with (Serbian) President (Tomislav) Nikolić and that is that some future Kosovo army cannot set a foot in northern Kosovo, that the police and judiciary consist of Serbs and that the Serbian side proposes three candidates for a regional police commander,” he explained.

“This is the first time that the international community is on our side and this should open up a new era in Serbia’s relations with the West,” the prime minister added.

He said that Serbia should “save what can be saved in Kosovo”.

Commenting on Thaci’s statements, Dačić said that the Kosovo PM “did not get what he was expecting – that Serbia will hand over the north”.

“Albanians thought that we will accept everything they asked for because of a date (for the start of the EU accession talks) but it did not happen,” the Serbian prime minister concluded.

Dačić and Thaci initialed the agreement on Friday in Brussels.