EU’s Ashton, Serbian, Kosovo PMs meet

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci held a joint meeting in Brussels on Friday.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug

Ashton said that Dačić and Thaci had agreed to continue the dialogue and to work together.

She stressed that the next meeting would be held soon.

“After separate meetings I chaired a joint meeting in my office which went in a good and constructive atmosphere. We agreed that the two parties’ dialogue on normalization will continue and both of them agreed they will work together. We will meet again soon,” the high representative said in a written release.

She added that she believed that the dialogue was in the best interest of both sides.

“Its goal is to improve people’s lives and help them solve problems and this will bring Serbia and Kosovo closer to Europe,” Ashton said.

Ashton first had separate meetings Dačić and Thaci. The joint meeting lasted about an hour.

Dačić and Thaci left the building separately after the meeting.

The prime minister told public broadcaster RTS on Friday afternoon that the meetings today focused on issues of displaced persons in Kosovo and Metohija, return of Serb-owned property, protection of cultural heritage, crimes and human organ trade.

The goal of the discussions in Brussels was to see whether there was desire for dialogue, Dačić also stated, and added that Serbia would not change its position, and that it considers the talks to be status-neutral:

"I think it is time for a historic agreement, and we are also ready for talks on (Kosovo's) final status."

"I told him (Thaci) that Kosovo is as much mine as it is his, I was born in Kosovo," noted the premier, and added that "the most important thing" was that the dialogue would resume in November - by which time Serbia would have its Kosovo platform ready.

He also said that he conveyed that Serbia "did not think the interpretation about (Kosovo's) territorial integrity in the EC report was the best", and that it would be "very bad" if it were to remain.

"The most important thing is that we showed we wish to solve these problems in a peaceful manner," Dačić added, noting at the same time that "this was an agreement about the dialogue, while the dialogue itself should include such subjects as energy, agreements reached thus far, telecommunications, and even political issues."

It was repported earlier in the day that the main topic of the meeting between the Serbian PM and the EU high representative was the continuation of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue under the auspices of the EU.

“The purpose of the meetings is to discuss advancement of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue under the sponsorship of the EU," it was said in Brussels late on Thursday.

Dačić said on Thursday that Belgrade was ready to talk but that it would not verify Kosovo’s independence through the talks.

He added that Serbia was not running away from the talks and that it wanted a quick solution to the Kosovo problem.

"We are ready to talk with the representatives of the Union, we are ready to talk with the representatives of the interim institutions in Kosovo. The only thing we insist on is that there must be no secret negotiations," the Serbian prime minister explained.

The EU sponsored Kosovo dialogue was originally launched in March 2011. The talks represented first direct discussions between the authorities in Belgrade and Priština since ethnic Albanians in Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in February 2008.

Serbia rejected the proclamation and considers it illegal under its Constitution.

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