No agreement in Brussels, talks to resume

BRUSSELS -- Office for Kosovo Director Marko Đurić and Deputy Kosovo PM Edita Tahiri failed to agree on settling the problem related to "Peace Park" in Kosovska Mitrovica.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

“The atmosphere was extremely difficult, Ms. Tahiri even refused to shake hands with me in the hall,” Đurić told reporters after the talks that lasted ten hours at the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels, Tanjug reported.

Đurić said that there were no direct talks at any point, but rather the two delegations talked with aides to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.

Đurić said that it is Belgrade's stand that works on Peace Park on the bridge in northern Kosovoska Mitrovica should be continued.

“We will talk again on July 22, and in the meantime we expect everyone to demonstrate restraint,” he said.

“We were ready to discuss the matter again as soon as on Monday, but Priština's side refused that,” Đurić said.

Tahiri told reporters that “unfortunately, no progress was made”, noting that Priština's side came to the talks in full capacity, including representatives of several ministries, and was ready to continue negotiations over the weekend.

She noted that, on the other hand, Đurić "came to the meeting alone and was obviously not well-prepared."

Tahiri then added that "Serbs should stay away from Kosovo," and accused the head of the Serbian government's Office for Kosovo of "violating the Brussels agreement with his frequent trips to Kosovo."

Đurić "rejected these accusations," said reports, and added that he thought "every Serb should enjoy full freedom of movement when entering Kosovo."

Ashton issued a brief statement after the talks in Brussels on Friday saying that both sides should without previous agreement refrain from any activities near the bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica, and added that both sides "agreed to form working groups" that would seek a solution.

On June 18, local Serbs removed a roadblock from the bridge over the Ibar River in that city, divided into the northern, Serb, and the southern, Albanian part, which, Tanjug reported, "they put up three years ago to protect themselves from incursions by Albanian extremists."

However, the Serbs placed concrete flower boxes in place of the barricade the next day, and referred to this as "Peace Park," while the Albanian side demanded the structure to be removed, "to allow passage of vehicles."