Kosovo dialogue "not right place to discuss Ukraine"

Milovan Drecun says he "does not believe that the EU will take advantage of today's round of the Kosovo dialogue to influence Serbia about Ukraine."

Source: B92

Drecun, who chairs the parliamentary committee on Kosovo and is an official of the SNS party, told B92 TV on Monday that the EU "so far has had and still has plenty of other channels to transmit its views on Ukraine to Serbia - so the meeting of our team with (Catherine) Ashton should not serve for that."

"On the other hand, the EU has so far sent a message to Serbia that it understands our specific relationship with Russia, primarily due to the support of Moscow in the UN Security Council in all matters relating to non-recognition of Kosovo's independence," said Drecun.

Speaking about the new round of the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština and what the Serbian negotiating team was expecting, Drecun said the negotiations would focus "on several important questions:

"According to the announcement of our team, these are justice, the formation of the community of Serb municipalities, and the new electoral law in Kosovo. I expect that Ashton will propose the dynamic of future negotiations."

According to him, it is precisely this "dynamic" that is important because "very important issues that are yet to be opened are coming up on the agenda," such as property in Kosovo of Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church, but also "one on which Serbia is constantly insisting, and that is the return of displaced persons."

Asked whether the judiciary was the toughest point that is being negotiated, and why, Drecun said "the problem is that Priština believes that a regulated legal system gives Serbs in Kosovo power." Priština "wants to dilute what has already been agreed, and so, for example, insists that the organization of the court (in Kosovska Mitrovica) be redrawn in a way that would change the structure of the judges, which should ultimately suit Albanians."

"Serbia has already made a compromise when it said it would accept a court," but this court must not outvote Serbs, Drecun said, adding that "it must be such that Serbs trust it." The proposal is, as he said, that the court has two administrations, one of which would responsible for Serbs.

Commenting on the recent arrests of Serbs in Kosovo, Drecun says he did no believe that would be "the dominant theme" of today's round.

Asked "what the Brussels agreement was for," Drecun said: "It moved things forward for the better. It rooted a process within which movement forward is made. There are no more unilateral actions in Kosovo, we had elections, formed municipalities with Serb majority, we are going toward the formation of the community of Serb municipalities, and we changed the role and image of Serbia abroad. That's what the Brussels agreement is for. It is the beginning of the normalization of relations."

On the other hand, as he pointed out, "Priština is trying to show that the agreement is not status neutral and that it serves to show the Albanian side, especially now that the elections are approaching, that two independent states are talking in Brussels about good neighborly relations. Belgrade cannot accept that and will not fit into such a framework."

Asked "who is the prime minister in the dialogue today," Drecun said that "the formal prime minister is Ivica Dačić, and we know who is going to be (prime minister) and for that reason Aleksandar Vučić should go to Brussels."

Also, he added, European parliament elections are coming up so is not known who will be there instead of Ashton. Considering that elections will also be held in Kosovo "it can slow down the dialogue in Brussels."

"And our interest is to accelerate it and to work on opening new topics," concluded Drecun.

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