EU wants "respect of Brussels deal procedures"

The EU expects the procedure envisaged in the Brussels agreement to be respected in case of the announced visit of Kosovo FM Hashim Thaci to Belgrade.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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This is according to a spokesperson of the High EU representatives for foreign affairs and security policy, who made the statement on Friday.

"In the dialogue on normalization of relations, an agreement was reached concerning the procedure of mutual visits by Serbian and Kosovo officials and it envisages that all matters should be solved through liaison officers," Maja Kocijancic said during a news briefing.

She noted that the EU expects the procedure to be respected in this case as well.

Thaci has been invited to a conference about European integration of the Western Balkans by the Youth Education Committee NGO which will organize the meeting from April 23 to 25.

Serbian officials have said that Thaci's visit has not been agreed on with institutions, that it was needless - and that Thaci will be arrested in case he decides to come here because there is a valid arrest warrant against him on terrorism charges, related to his role as one of the leaders of the KLA during the 1998/99 war in Kosovo.

On Thursday, the NGO organizing the conference said Thaci had accepted their invitation.

Also on Thursday, reports from Brussels quoted officials as saying that the EU was "neither the initiator nor the organizer" of the planned gathering, and that it would not be "appropriate" for the it to comment.

EU sources also yesterday refused to directly comment on media reports that Brussels was pressuring Belgrade to "welcome Thaci."

"Our position is that we support everything that contributes to the reconciliation process and good neighborly relations in the region," Tanjug was told at the EU HQ.

Procedures

There are certain procedures that should be respected when it comes to unofficial visits, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport stated on Friday, commenting on the announced unofficial visit of Kosovo Minister of Foreign Affairs Hashim Thaci to Belgrade.

Replying to reporters' questions as to whether Thaci's visit could lead to incidents, Davenport replied that he can add nothing because he does not know anything about it. He recalled that the next round of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue should take place next week and added that the most important thing for Serbia now is to focus on the next steps.

Davenport said that both sides should invest all possible efforts to realize the agreements reached within the Brussels agreement. Asked about his opinion concerning Thaci's potential visit to Belgrade, U.S. Ambassador in Serbia Michael Kirby said that he encourages visits everywhere in the region and regional cooperation.

Asked about the likelihood of Thaci's arrest having in mind the fact that the warrant for his arrest is still in force, Kirby said that the question about whether the arrest would or would not be made should be put to the (Serbian) government. (end) bs/ak

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