Controversial draft law on Trepca withdrawn

The assembly of Kosovo will not discuss a law concerning the Trepca mining complex on Monday, it has been announced in Pristina.

Source: Beta, Tanjug

It was initially reported today that Trepca was removed at the last moment from the draft law on public companies, prepared last week by the Kosovo government with the goal to take over the coal mining complex located on northern Kosovo.

The Serbian government reacted strongly by saying it would "not allow" the takeover of Trepca, that is majority-owned by the state and Serbian companies, and also by announcing it could restart proceedings to privatize it.

Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa told the assembly in Pristina that the government was asking that "the Trepca case" not be discussed today, and explained this by saying there was a fact his government was "unaware of" - that Trepca has debts reaching EUR 1.4 billion, Tanjug reported.

The Beta news agency reported that the Kosovo government said the draft law was withdrawn because "deadlines for (meeting) the obligations that Trepca has toward creditors have not been precisely defined."

It was also decided that "a separate law on Trepca" would be produced that would "define all the issues important for this company that is one of the most important economic factors in Kosovo."

Members of the Pristina government from the Srpska List were present during the session and agreed with the decision to withdraw the draft law.

Meanwhile, Pristina-based Albanian language website Koha reported that the decision was made last night, "after a meeting Mustafa, along with is deputy Hashim Thaci and Justice Minister Hajredin Kuci, held with the most important western ambassadors."

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was quoted as saying earlier on Monday that the debate in the Kosovo assembly was "postponed until Wednesday."

This, he said, was the result of "the minimal headway" made by his government in its efforts to solve the problem.

Vucic explained that "intensive conversations about Trepca have been held over the weekend with representatives of the international community," and that talks will continue today with representatives of the government in Pristina and the Serb community in Kosovo.

"The issue of property in Kosovo and Metohija has not been opened yet and the Serbian government demands that the topic be launched as soon as possible, rather than have our property taken overnight, without us knowing anything about it, pretending not to see anything, and then when it's taken, somebody would say, 'let's open the property issue, and you can now fight for the two small combines (conglomerates) in northern Kosovo," he was quoted as saying.

Asked what position the international community would take in this dispute, Vucic said he believed the international community was "neutral."


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