Saturday, October 8, 2011

Solution for north KiM crossings soon

Head of the Belgrade negotiating team in the talks with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic stated on Friday after a meeting with EU facilitator in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Robert Cooper that a solution to the problem of the Jarinje and Brnjak administrative crossings in north Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) is likely to be reached soon.

He said at a press conference that it is important for him to meet with representatives of north Kosovo municipalities as soon as possible in order to discuss the solutions which have been mentioned in the talks with Cooper.

Stefanovic said that various issues were addressed ranging from regulation of flow to customs revenues and normalization of traffic and life of citizens.

Belgrade and the Republic of Serbia got a positive signal from the EU by its acceptance to enter the talks on north Kosovo, he added.

“We are ready to discuss a solution to the crossings issue. Given that Pristina does not want to discuss this topic, we have found someone who does,” Stefanovic stated.

The international community realized the gravity of the problem which has to be resolved in a manner that will make all parties satisfied, Stefanovic explained, adding that the meeting addressed concrete possibilities and modalities.

According to Stefanovic, Cooper departed for Pristina to present the new proposals and see how the authorities there react.

I expect that these talks will be continued very soon so that we could reach a sustainable solution for Jarinje and Brnjak, Stefanovic underlined.

He added that the meeting with Cooper also tabled the issues of energy and Pristina's representation in regional initiatives.

We agreed that the worst solution at the moment would be if someone would turn to force in an attempt to resolve problems, he said, adding that any attempt of the change of the situation by removal of barricades would prevent a positive outcome.

"We have a very important request and task to hold a meeting with representatives of northern Kosovo municipalities at any location and as soon as possible and hear their thoughts and views and options for Jarinje and Brnjak," he noted.

The solution to the problem with the crossings is a requirement for the continuation of the talks with Pristina, which have been delayed, not shut down, Stefanovic insisted.

There was no pressuring during the meeting with Cooper, nor demands to clear the roadblocks, he stated.
Stefanovic called on the people to remain calm, adding that the Serbian government would support them in peaceful protests.

The European Commission report cannot be negative because of the situation in Kosovo, since Belgrade has shown itself capable and achieved real results in the talks with Pristina, he believes.

It is important to settle the issue with the checkpoints through a dialogue with the EU, said Stefanovic, adding that once the issue is settled, the negotiations with Pristina would be resumed immediately.

When it comes to Pristina's representation in regional initiatives, Stefanovic remarked that Belgrade had nothing against it and constantly offered suggestions in an effort to find a compromise.

It is perfectly acceptable to Belgrade to have Pristina represented in all regional initiatives, he stated, adding that Pristina cannot be a black hole in the Balkans, but that it was simply a matter of symmetry.

"To us it is perfectly clear that the issue of representation and participation is separate from the way one is represented. We think Pristina cannot be represented as an independent country," said Stefanovic, adding that EU representatives had a lot of understanding for that view.

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