EU announces deal is made on bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica
"Following the extensive discussions on August 2" agreement was reached today "on the last remaining details" regarding the Kosovska Mitrovica bridge deal.Source: B92
The EU announced on Friday that it concerned "implementing the August 2015 Belgrade-Pristina dialogue agreement on the Mitrovica Bridge."
The bridge in question is located over the Ibar River that separates the northern Kosovo town into its southern, ethnic Albanian, and northern, predominantly Serb parts.
"Now that full implementation is in sight, the Mitrovica Bridge will become the symbol of normalization of relations between the Kosovo Serb, Kosovo Albanian and other communities," said a statement posted on the EU External Action Service website, adding:
"The revitalization of the bridge, as well as King Petar (Kralja Petra) Street, will greatly contribute to facilitating contacts between all people of Mitrovica North and South and will thus contribute to exchanges and understanding."
The EU added that "Minister for the Dialogue Edita Tahiri and Chief Negotiator Marko Djuric" agreed that the outstanding construction permit will be issued "and that the revitalization of the Mitrovica Bridge and its surroundings will commence on August 14, 2016."
"The Mitrovica Bridge will be opened for pedestrians and for vehicles in both directions in line with the recommendations of the technical assessment and the architectural design both sides agreed in June 2015," it is stated.
According to this, "the construction work on the bridge will be carried out by accessing the construction site through the southern access road," while "the bridge will be opened for all traffic on January 20, 2017."
"In line with the same timetable, the municipality of Mitrovica North will revitalize its main street - King Petar Street - into a pedestrian zone. The street will be opened for pedestrians on 20 January 2017. The works will start and finish on the same day as the ones on and around the bridge," said the EU, adding:
"A working group will regularly monitor and review together with both mayors the prevailing political and security conditions in the municipalities during and after the revitalization process. A first meeting of that group will take place on September 9, 2016. Kosovo Police, EULEX and KFOR in line with their respective mandates will ensure a safe and secure environment. They will consult on appropriate security measures, including with the two mayors."
The agreement from August 2015 envisaged that the bridge and the street would be opened by the end of June 2016.
A new deadline around administrative lines and cadastre areas issues in the Suvi Do and Brdjani settlements is now October 14 - and was previously October 10, 2015.
And finally, the EU on Friday "welcomed the outcome of today's discussions and urges both parties to continue to make progress on all other outstanding implementation work, in particular on Telecoms, the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo and Energy. "