Belgrade, Priština "close to deal on telecommunications"

Belgrade and Priština are very close to reaching an agreement on the issue of telecommunications in Kosovo and Metohija.

Source: Tanjug
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This is according to Serbian Telecommunications Minister Rasim Ljajić, who spoke late on Thursday.

Ljajić added that the text of the agreement was coordinated during his meeting with Pierre Mirel, director for the Western Balkans in the European Commission Directorate General for Enlargement.

It is now expected that the EU representatives finally agree on the document with the authorities in Priština, said Ljajić.

"I hope we have arrived at a compromise solution - unless new proposals are put forward. In any case, we have tried to get to a balanced text and then go on with the discussion at the implementation group level to have the agreement implemented eventually,” Ljajić told journalists in Brussels.

The Belgrade delegation has agreed to cooperate to have Kosovo-Metohija get a phone code, Ljajić said, adding that the modality for this will be found over the next three months, and the solution has to be implemented by 2015.

When it comes to Telekom Srbija, an agreement should include permissions for the operation of the existing base stations in Kosovo so that Telekom Srbija can operate normally until tendering.

Telekom Srbija will be a bidder in this process, which will be announced in a way conforming to international standards, he said.

Ljajić said that Pierre Mirel's role in this process is a constructive and important one, stressing that the director for the Western Balkans had done a lot to get us to a coordinated text, but it remains to be seen what Priština will say.

The minister added he indeed believes the text is a compromise solution that can be implemented.

“We have shown good will and readiness despite the fact that changes were being made to agreements on the fly, but after this tenth, or it may be the 11th, round of talks, we believe we have finally arrived at an agreement," Ljajić said.

Ashton: Agreement on calling code for Kosovo

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton announced in the European Parliament (EP) on Thursday that "Serbia and Kosovo have reached an agreement on an international calling code for Kosovo."

Ashton said this in response to a question from EP rapporteur Jelko Kacin who inquired about progress in the Belgrade-Priština dialogue on energy and telecommunications.

She said the agreement is part of a telecommunications package which is awaiting final confirmation.

Meanwhile Serbia's Minister of Telecommunications Rasim Ljajić said an agreement on telecommunications is very close and a text has been agreed.

Belgrade's delegation agreed to work together on securing a calling code for Kosovo, with the modality to be determined over the next three months. The agreed solution must be implemented by 2015, he said.

Now EU representatives are expected to finalize the document in talks with the Priština authorities, said Ljajić.

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