PM: Still unknown when dialogue will continue

BELGRADE -- Ivica Dačić says a date for the continuation of the Kosovo dialogue is yet to be agreed on, but that he "would not like it to take place before January 21."

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Dačić added that it remains to be seen whether the negotiations would continue on January 17, "and it is certain that the political criteria for the EU talks with Serbia will continue to be progress in the dialogue with Priština."

“We have not agreed on January 17 as the date for the continuation of the talks because I was not willing to accept the date as I believed that this would only be an additional pressure, and we should not work under pressure, we should find the best possible solutions,” the prime minister said.

"There will probably still be a variety of pressures," he said, and noted that "the administration in Brussels now on vacation, so there have been no contacts in the past seven days, but they will resume tomorrow or on Monday."

The prime minister was touring a nursing home in Belgrade when he told reporters that early parliamentary elections "are not a priority." However, Dačić added that this "did not mean he was afraid of elections - because even if they take place, that will seal the fate of opposition parties."

He reiterated that the topic of early elections was not on the agenda and not a priority at this point, and that he and his first deputy in the cabinet and SNS party leader Aleksandar Vućić were in agreement about this.

Dačić also said he had no information that the SNS should decide by Christmas, i.e., January 7, whether to call elections.

Asked whether elections would halt the negotiations between Belgrade and Priština but also Serbia's membership talks with the EU, Dačić said that "during that time there certainly would not be any negotiations," as they would be put on hold, but that he "does not want that to be an excuse not to hold elections."

Next week, meetings of working groups in the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština will continue, "and now the key is the formation of the community of Serb municipalities and the adoption of the statute," said Dačić.

"You see that there are problems with the constitution of municipal assemblies, the community of Serb municipalities (ZSO) should be formed, here we get to the statute - now slowly we come to the essence of the problem, what perhaps nobody realized - now the main question becomes the ZSO. We turn the focus form independence to the ZSO and will continue this kind of conversation," Dačić told reporters.