PM: No agreement to "merge municipalities"

Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has said that no agreement had been reached "to merge the three Albanian and four Serb municipalities" in northern Kosovo.

Source: Beta

Speaking on Friday, he added that "it will not relativize the autonomy of Serbs in the north."

"Our goal is to respect the particularity of northern Kosovo," Dačić said at the National Library in Belgrade, adding that in the Kosovo negotiations held in Brussels, "there are some topics that are actually goals that should not be spoken about publicly."

"Work is still being done to achieve the final version (of the agreement)," said the prime minister.

He announced that ahead of parliamentary elections on March 16, another round of talks between Belgrade and Priština should be held.

"We have told Priština that the fact we are negotiating is not our weakness but our strength, and our strength is also to say 'no' when that is needed," said Dačić.

He then asked whether a "reconfiguration" of EU's mission in Kosovo, EULEX, "actually means preparing arrests of Serbs in northern Kosovo," and reiterated his stance that the arrest of SDP leader Oliver Ivanović was "an irrational decision that can destabilize the situation."

Meanwhile, the Albanian-language daily Koha Ditore wrote on Friday that "as agreed by the prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo, the ethnic structure of employees of the court in the north will be 60 to 40 percent in favor of the Albanians."

This Priština newspaper also said that "according to the same agreement, the president of the Basic Court in the north will be of Serb nationality, while the chief prosecutor will be Albanian."

"They will head the court that will serve the seven municipalities," according to the article.

Dačić said after the latest round in Brussels on Wednesday that the sides were close to reaching an agreement on merging these seven municipalities, but that "the interests of Serbs will be protected in the court in Kosovska Mitrovica."


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