Ashton to meet with Dačić and Thaci on Monday

EU's Catherine Ashton will next meet with Ivica Dačić and Hashim Thaci in Brussels on Monday, October 7, it has been announced.

Source: B92, Tanjug

Ashton's office also said on Thursday that "the purpose of the meeting is to review progress on implementation in the run up to the municipal elections of 3 November in Kosovo."

The meeting will be held "in the context of the EU-facilitated dialogue," a spokesperson for Ashton said.

The statement does not mention the crisis that flared up on Wednesday after the authorities in Priština announced they would ban Dačić and other Serbian officials from coming to Kosovo for the duration of the local election campaign, i.e., until November 1.

Dačić then said that the dialogue with Priština "could be interrupted," while an official of the government in Priština stated that the decision on the ban was "final."

"Election campaign"

Brussels does not believe that the Belgrade-Priština dialogue is in grave danger and believes that the stands of both sides should be understood in the context of the election campaign, Tanjug said it learned from an EU official who wished to remain anonymous.

It is in everyone's interest for the dialogue to go on, especially as the European Commission on the progress made by Serbia and Kosovo is supposed to be filed in ten days already, the official said.

Spokesperson of the high EU representative for foreign affairs and security policy Maja Kocijancic confirmed for reporters that the High EU Representative Catherine Ashton would confer with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and his Kosovo counterpart Hasim Taci in Brussels on Monday.

She reiterated the statement made in the release issued immediately ahead of the briefing in the European Commission, when she said the Monday meeting would be a chance to analyse the progress reached within the dialogue under Ashton's auspices, especially ahead of the local elections in Kosovo scheduled for November 3.

Kocijancic did not wish to comment on Dačić's statement that Belgrade would withdraw from the dialogue in case Priština fails to call off the ban on visits to Kosovo for Serbian officials in the course of the electoral campaign.

Kocijancic said that Brussels is monitoring the situation and is in constant contact with both sides.


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