Liaison officers start work on Monday

BELGRADE -- Belgrade and Priština exchanged liaison officers on Monday, when Dejan Pavićević started work in his new role at the EU office in Priština.

Dejan Pavićević (Tanjug, file)
Dejan Pavićević (Tanjug, file)

At the same time, Lulzim Peci assumed his new role at the EU mission in Belgrade.

In the manner, the exchange of liaison officers was officially completed, which is one of the results of the talks between Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

"Neither Peci, who will be at the EU mission in Belgrade, nor I, who will be at the EU office in Priština, have diplomatic status. I repeat that those are neither diplomatic missions, nor embassies, nor liaison offices, those are liaison officers, people who will facilitate communication as part of the implementation of the agreement," Pavićević stressed in his statements for the media made earlier.

"I will arrive at the EU building in Priština at noon, where my office will be, and I will have several preparatory meetings with EU officials and High Representative Samuel Žbogar, and possibly with EULEX officials too. That is roughly what my first day at work in Priština will look like," he noted.

A similar thing is expected in Belgrade, where Peci will arrive at the EU mission at noon also and meet with the mission officials and probably its head Vincent Degert, Pavićević said.

"That is how we are going to start our work as liaison officers, me in Priština and he in Belgrade," he underscored.

He said he felt completely safe ahead of his trip to Priština and that he hoped there would be no security issues.

Pavićević pointed out he would at first have 24-hour police protection, but added that it would change if the need for it disappeared.

He expects communication with Serbs living in Priština and hopes there will be more of them with time. He also expects communication with the Serbs in the enclaves of Gračanica, Čaglavica and south of the river Ibar.

Speaking for B92 last week, Pavićević said that as far as he was informed, there were only 17 Serbs living in Priština now - and that he would "be the 18th." Before the war, there were 40,000 Serbs living in the town, he told Belgrade's Pink TV on Monday.

The basic communication will be focused on EULEX, he remarked, but added he would also communicate with Albanians in order to facilitate the implementation of the agreement.

"I have very clear instructions from the government and will adhere to them to achieve better implementation and living conditions for the Kosovo Serbs," he said.

According to the agreement from Brussels, Pavićević and Peci will also have a driver and an assistant.

In his statement for B92, Peci, unlike Pavićević, said he would perform duties "similar to those of the chief of any diplomatic missions," and that these related to "relations between two countries."

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci stated that after the exchange of liaison officers, "Kosovo would be represented in Belgrade at a diplomatic level," but Pavićević stressed that neither himself nor Peci enjoyed a diplomatic status.

Peci addressed reporters in Belgrade on Monday to say that "this is a very important day for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia," and add:

"I expect open and good cooperation with the Serbian state institutions and I am here to give my contribution to the normalization of relations between the two countries."

After this short statement, reporters were not allowed to ask Peci any questions.