Serbian president satisfied with EU assurances

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić says that EU officials he met with assured him the EU would "never ask Serbia to recognize Kosovo".

Source: Tanjug

Nikolić added that he "believed them".

He added after his meeting with EC President Jose Manuel Barroso that he was convinced that the EU demands related to Kosovo can be fulfilled.

"The EU is asking that we live safely and richly and I don't see what's contentious about that," he told news conference he attended along with Barosso.

Nikolić added that he asked his interlocutors today for detailed information about the agreements reached thus far in the Belgrade-Priština dialogue, and that he received them, and stressed that so far he had not seen anything that would be contrary to the Serbian Constitution or interests.

Nikolić also said he would seek explanation why the interpretation of agreements by the Belgrade team was different from the interpretation of the European Commission.

The president announced continuation of discussion on that subject on Wednesday, when EU mediator Robert Cooper is due to visit Belgrade.

Barosso stressed during the same news conference the importance of "normalization of relations with Kosovo" when it came to Serbia's further EU progress, and the importance of the process of reconciliation in the Western Balkans.

According to him, the commission would help Serbia on the European road.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Thursday after meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić that further normalization of relations with Kosovo remains a key condition for starting negotiations to join the EU.

Further normalization remains a key condition for the next step, the start of pre-accession negotiations, according to Van Rompuy's statement to the media.

Van Rompuy said that it is also necessary to apply the agreements on regional cooperation and crossings, to find a solution for the north of Kosovo and to calm tensions in the interest of all who live there.

Van Rompuy said that today's discussion with Nikolić was honest and good and that he was pleased to hear that Nikolić has European integration at the top of his priorities.

He stressed that the new Serbian president, through his support to the efforts of the future government, will have an important role on Serbia's path to Europe.

The EU is definitely the biggest trade partner of Serbia and the main foreign investor, Rompuy recalled and promised that Brussels will support further progress on Serbia's European path.

Finally, Van Rompuy wished Nikolić a successful presidency at the upcoming Summit of the Cooperation Process in Southeastern Europe and stressed the importance of reconciliation for the future of the region.

Politics

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