Belgrade, Priština initial agreement in Brussels
The tenth round of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue is over and Serbian and Kosovo PMs Ivica Dačić and Hashim Thaci have initialed an agreement.Source: B92, Tanjug
B92 has learned that the 9th point which refers to the police is unchanged while the 14th point that referred to Kosovo’s membership in international organizations has been "altered."
"All suggestions made by Serbia have been accepted, I initialed that this is the proposal of the text, on whose adoption or rejection both sides will declare themselves in the coming days, " Ivica Dačić has told reporters.
According to Tanjug, he explained that article 14 has been amended to remove the statement that Serbia must not block Kosovo in international organizations, and that the article now "only states that Serbia must not stand in the way of Kosovo's European integration process."
EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, who facilitated the rounds of the talks between Belgrade and Priština, said on Friday the talks had been completed and both sides initialled the agreement, and that they would inform Brussels about their decision to accept it.
Aleksandar Vučić was quoted as saying by Tanjug that the final version of the document "accepted all Serbian suggestions," - that is to say, that "point 9 was not touched and according to the wishes of the Serbian side, point 14 has been modified."
B92 learned earlier that it was still unknown when and if the agreement will be officially signed.
The agreement has not been made public yet. It is only known that it contains 15 points and that two of them – point 9 that refers to police in Serb-populated areas and point 14 that refers to Kosovo’s membership in international organizations, were especially disputable.
It has been confirmed to B92 that both delegations and Ashton will have a meeting at the NATO headquarters later today.
It is believed that the meeting with NATO will be held because of Serbia’s requests that the Kosovo army must not have access to the north which could only be realized with NATO’s support.
According to Tanjug, the Serbian negotiating team said earlier that it would not discuss an agreement if “the 14th point remains in the agreement and if the ninth point is changed”.
The Serbian delegation includes Serbian PM Ivica Dačić, First Deputy PM Aleksandar Vučić, Office for Kosovo Director Aleksandar Vulin and President Tomislav Nikolić's advisor Marko Đurić. Deputy PM for European Integration Suzana Grubješić is not a part of the team.
Ashton first held bilateral meetings with Belgrade and Priština’s teams. Her pokeswoman Maja Kocijančič stated around 16:00 that the trilateral meeting was underway.
“Deal possible if no changes are made to proposal”
Đurić stated in Brussels earlier on Friday that the Belgrade-Priština agreement was possible if there were no deviations from the proposal which was on the negotiating table.
“According to the proposal, the community of Serb municipalities will have executive competences, particularly in the terms of police, and it will be able to appoint regional police commander,” he told reporters ahead of the beginning of the tenth round of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue in Brussels.
He said that Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was continuously manipulating and telling lies regarding the content of the proposed agreement.
“For Priština, the hardest thing is that the agreement which is currently on the table reads that only Serb policemen will be present in north Kosovo, while the Kosovo Security Forces will not be allowed to approach the north without a NATO approval and an agreement of the community of Serb municipalities,” Đurić noted.
“There is hope for the agreement if there are no manipulations and deviations from the proposal which is on the negotiating table,” he stressed.
Disputable parts of draft agreement
Dačić said earlier that Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci had tried to change point 14 so it would oblige the two sides not to block each other in the international organizations.
He said that it would mean that Serbia would have to allow Kosovo to be a member of the international organizations which was unacceptable to Serbia.
Thaci, on the other hand, said that Serbia could state its wishes but that the reality is different.
“In the agreement that Ashton proposed, Kosovo is given the right to be represented in regional and international organizations, to become a NATO member but also the UN,” he noted.
It was announced earlier that the Serbian team’s visit to Brussels would begin with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen but according to new information, the meeting will be held later today.
B92 has learned from NATO that they “cannot rule out a possibility that the meeting will be held” but the Alliance could not say when the meeting could begin.
Rasmussen said on Friday that NATO would do everything “in order to implement a possible agreement”.
Nikolić, Dačić and Vučić on Thursday held consultations and analyzed the last round of the talks that ended without an agreement.
The agreement was not reached at the ninth round because Thaci insisted that the 14th point be changed so Kosovo’s membership in the international organizations would not be blocked. B92 has also learned that Priština had additional conditions regarding the police.