Four agreements signed during Kosovo talks round
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic announced late on Tuesday in Brussels that agreements reached there are "good for the Serb people in Kosovo."Source: B92, Beta, Klan
Speaking after another round of EU-sponsored Belgrade-Pristina negotiations, he "singled out as the most important the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO)" which he said will have "broad powers."
He also stressed there were "no longer any obstacles" to Serbia opening the first chapter in EU membership negotiations, and that he would publish "all four signed agreements."
According to Vucic, the ZSO will have "its president, vice-president, assembly, council, coat-of-arms and flag."
"It will be deciding on all four issues from the Brussels agreement - from health care, education, urban and rural planning and economic development, to us being able to finance it from Serbia. It is said unequivocally that Serbia has the right to finance it, without taxes and duties," he told Serbia's state television RTS.
Vucic then announced he would visit Kosovo in September and the ten municipalities that will make up the future ZSO: Kosovska Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok, Leposavic, Gracanica, Strpce, Novo Brdo, Ranilug, Pasjane, Partes, and Klokot.
Agreements on telecommunications, energy, and movement across a bridge on the Ibar River have also been reached and signed, the Beta agency reported.
As the prime minister noted, the energy deal was signed "but without agreement on the operative-distributive system and property."
"For the first time we will have both the supplier and the vendor of electric energy, this will be a daughter company of EPS. We did not reach agreement on the operative-distributive system. They tried to cheat us over property. They wrote that they consider it to be their property. We immediately wrote that we consider it to be - in line with the Constitution - the property of the Republic of Serbia," said Vucic.
He stated that he "expected problems" related to this agreement, and added that when it comes to telecommunications, "nothing changes":
"Serbs from Kosovo, when they call Serbs in central Serbia, still dial only 011, and vice versa, when we call Mitrovica, we dial only 028, without any calling codes."
Speaking about the Ibar River bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica, he said citizens in the northern part of the town "should not worry":
"They wanted to open Kralja Petra Street, and by decisions signed today it will be a pedestrian zone. Trucks will not enter that street and that will be a pedestrian zone that Serbia is building and there is all security for that."
Serbian Government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric commented after the negotiations in Brussels today to say the outcome represented "a 5-0 victory for Serbia," while Kosovo Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci said that "Serbia in a way recognized Kosovo as an independent state."
Thaci has also been quoted as saying by Klan Kosova TV that reaching the agreements was difficult "because the Serb side was opposed all day."
According to him, "Serbia signed under pressure from international community."
"The Kosovo side stood firmly behind its demands and reached agreements in line with Kosovo's laws. It is up to us to work in order to carry out all future processes," Thaci said, and "confirmed that the Kosovo side gave up on Peace Park":
"As long as there are defined periods on the bridge to move the barricades and in other ways allow freedom of movement to people we are giving up on the idea of uniting Mitrovica. This is a European year for Kosovo. Serbia previously refused to sign documents that had Republic of Kosovo printed on them. This now is a recognition of independence in a way."
In a statement after the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who mediated the talks, said:
"I hosted a meeting of the high level dialogue for normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina with Prime Ministers Aleksandar Vucic and Isa Mustafa and their delegations in Brussels today to finalize implementation arrangements of four key agreements: on energy, telecoms, establishment of the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities as well as the Freedom of Movement/Mitrovica Bridge."
"The prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo marked a turning point in taking forward the dialogue agenda. They agreed on the general principles and the main elements of the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities, which paves the way for its establishment. They also agreed on further implementation of the energy agreement and the Action Plan for Telecoms, which will facilitate the telecommunications system and operations in Kosovo," the statement said, and added:
"Finally, the prime ministers also agreed the arrangement for the Mitrovica Bridge. This will define the use of the bridge in a mutually acceptable way which symbolizes the spirit of the dialogue that I am facilitating. Today's outcome represents landmark achievements in the normalization process. Solutions such as those found today bring concrete benefits to the people and at the same time enable the two sides to advance on their European path. Prime Ministers' dedication was instrumental and I confirm that the EU will actively support the full implementation of this outcome. We will also continue to work on further steps of the dialogue in the coming months."