Negotiators interpret Brussels meeting differently

Marko Đurić says he is "stunned by the statement of Edita Tahiri" that an agreement was reached "to remove the barricades" from a bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
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The head of the Serbian governmnent's Office for Kosovo and Metohija spoke for B92 after negotiations in Brussels on Tuesday to add that "Peace Park" - soil and concrete flower boxes that local Serbs built their after removing a barricade - would remain in place.

"I have the impression that we were in two different meetings," Đurić said, in reference to Tahiri's statement. Tahiri headed the delegation of the Kosovo authorities in the talks.

"I have to express my complete surprise by statements of Edita Tahiri after the meeting, about the supposed agreement, I quote, 'on the removal of the barricades.' I guess that by 'barricades' she means Peace Park, through which she passed a couple of days ago, visited it, and had coffee in northern Kosovska Mitrovica," Đurić said.

"So, as far as the statement of Edita Tahiri, I have the impression that we were in two different meetings. We agreed that Peace Park remains, that there should be no events related to the bridge and the immediate vicinity of the bridge until the talks continue, that in the meantime a visual assessment of the condition of the bridge should be done so that as the talks continue there can be agreement about what the bridge and the area immediately around the bridge will look like - exclusively through consensus of the two sides," said Đurić.

Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Edita Tahiri previously said that an agreement was reached to gradually remove the barricade on the bridge over the Ibar River in Kosovska Mitrovica, and those around it.

After the meeting with Đurić and EU officials, she stated that the two sides agreed that "based on European standards and Kosovo laws" complete freedom of movement of people and vehicles across the bridge would be allowed.

Tahiri also pointed out that a working group of Priština, Belgrade and the EU will by September give the final assessment and then deadlines to implement all this.

The office of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also issued a statement after the meeting. It said that the working group met and considered the legal aspect of the issue, in accordance with the Brussels agreement, and that the discussion concerned ways in which the European Union could help in future projects related to the bridge, on which the two sides would first agree.

According to this, the working group will, as a first step in this direction, hire experts to do a technical assessment of the state of the bridge. The two sides were called on to refrain from any actions that have not been previously agreed upon.

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