Kosovo dialogue resumes in Brussels

BRUSSELS, BELGRADE -- Prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo, Ivica Dačić and Hashim Thaci, are meeting today with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton for a new round of dialogue.

(EU, file)
(EU, file)

Besides Dačić, the meeting is attended by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić.

"The two sides will continue to work on the implementation of the April agreement and discuss the next steps regarding the normalization of relations," Ashton's office said ahead of the talks.

The topics are expected to include justice and establishment of the community of Serb municipalities, on which the two sides have not reached agreement.

Confirming that he was traveling to Brussels with Vučić, Dačić announced "serious discussions" on the subjects that the sides had so far failed to agree on, and on the implementation of what had been agreed.

"Preparations for parliamentary elections are beginning in Kosovo, which for us is a very important question - who has the right to vote, the question of how many deputies Serbs will have in the future the assembly, the issue of Serbs in the Kosovo authorities, the judiciary, the constitution of the community of Serb municipalities, and much more that will be discussed," he explained.

The minister without portfolio in charge of Kosovo in the technical government, Aleksandar Vulin, announced that changes in Kosovo's electoral law could also be discussed in Brussels.

"Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija said that reducing their rights was out of the question, it is something that I think the entire world supports, that the international community supports. I'm sure there will be time to talk about it in Brussels on Monday," said Vulin.

"The Brussels agreement is status neutral and that means voting with the relevant Serbian documents cannot be called into question, because anything else would be prejudicing the final solution," said Vulin.

The negotiators in Brussels today are also expected to discuss the jurisdiction of the Basic Court in Kosovska Mitrovica, which, according to Priština, should include seven municipalities, three of which are predominantly ethnic Albanian.

Belgrade believes that such a solution is not in the spirit of the Brussels agreement, as the ethnic structure of judges and prosecutors of such a court would be majority Albanian.

Another unresolved issue is the civil defense in northern Kosovo, which is under the control of local authorities, but which Priština seeks to fit into the Kosovo system under the auspices of the Kosovo Security Force.

According to reports, the Serbian side "resolutely opposes this idea, because the Kosovo government, as earlier reported by media, plans to transform the KSF into a future army of Kosovo."

The previous round of the dialogue was held on February 12 and focused on issues related to justice and the formation of the community of Serb municipalities.