Top officials confer on platform for Kosovo

A meeting of Serbia's top state officials was held on Wednesday in Belgrade, called to discuss a draft of the country's platform on Kosovo and Metohija.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug

The participants did not wish to make any statements for the press afterwards.

The meeting was held at the Serbian Presidency and brought together President Tomislav Nikolić, PM Ivica Dačić, his first deputy Aleksandar Vučić, Government's Office for Kosovo Director Aleksandar Vulin, Deputy PM for European Integration Suzana Grubješić, and FM Ivan Mrkić.

B92 learned late on Wednesday that the participants received a document marked as "state secret" - the starting point for the platform. They will now submit their objections and suggestions to the document. Our reporter was also told that "there will be no procrastination" when it comes to putting together the platform, while a new meeting is expected as early as next week.

Also late on Wednesday, Aleksandar Vučić stated that the officials who met today received a draft platform from the president, and added that the document, which is a state secret, is much more concrete than any other before.

"We all saw that paper, and we should prepare our proposals before the next meeting, which should be held next week," Vučić told the public broadcaster RTS.

"What is important is that things are within reality now. Minimum and maximum are within what is realistic and possible," Vučić noted.

The first deputy prime minister also said that two principles are most important - preservation of state and national interests, and continuation of Serbia's EU path.

According to earlier announcement, this was one in a series of meetings that will be held in order to shape "several models" that Belgrade would offer as solutions to the question of the province's final status.

The document's basic guidelines are expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić said late on Tuesday that Serbia would lose Kosovo if its position in the negotiations with Priština continued to deteriorate. He also noted that the platform needed to be flexible.

According to Dačić, Kosovo’s status will not be the main topic of the talks.

Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) whip Branko Ružić has announced that President Tomislav Nikolić, the PM and parliament are working on the draft platform for Kosovo.

“I believe that the issue is of state interest and that one should therefore not prejudge the content of the platform,” he said.

“Once the platform is in parliament, then we will be able to comment on it in a quality way,” Ružić explained.

Serbian Parliamentary Committee on Kosovo Chairman Milovan Drecun has assessed that the platform for Kosovo will not be “sensationally new” and that it will not offer solutions that have not already been seen around the world.

“Its basic message will be that every agreement is acceptable if it respects internationally recognized borders,” Drecun noted.

“It was evident after the first meeting between Dačić and (Kosovo PM Hashim) Thaci that the process will end with a solution for the Kosovo status despite the fact that Priština claims all the time that the so-called independence is a done deal for them. Therefore, we have started a process that will finally solve a very long dispute between Serbs and Albanians regarding Kosovo and Metohija. The important thing is that the platform will have elements that will be unchangeable,” he stressed.

Former Belgrade team chief Borislav Stefanović told Radio B92 that the platform should be concrete, clear and unambiguous.

“It should primarily contain our clear position when it comes to energy, telecommunications, the status of northern Kosovo, special guarantees for Serbs, the issue of protection of monasteries, property, issue of the missing persons but in a very concrete, clear and unambiguous way. The plan should contain our clear determination that we will never recognize the independence of Kosovo and Metohija. Those are the things that the platform should cover and our position about Kosovo’s membership in the international organizations, in which it would be possible and in which it would not,” Stefanović said.

He said he was concerned about the fact that the authorities had announced that the platform would not contain anything new.

“They are justifying it by saying that they should not reveal their moves in advance so the other side could not prepare. They are not ready for the problem, the authorities where the PM wants the partition of Kosovo and others the whole of Kosovo with an autonomy such in South Tyrol. And they said in the campaign that they knew how to solve the issue,” Stefanović concluded.


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