Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dacic: Agreement initialed, Serbia's demands accepted

4/19/2013 7:23:00 PM BRUSSELS - Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dacic has initialed a proposed agreement with Pristina which includes Serbia's demands, and Brussels will be informed of Belgrade's response on Monday.

The prime minister said this is the best offer Belgrade has received, adding that article nine, related to the police and the appointment of a regional commander, has remained in the agreement, while article 14 has been amended to remove the statement that Serbia must not block Kosovo in international organizations. The article now only states that Serbia must not stand in the way of Kosovo's European integration process.

 Dacic told reporters in Brussels that he did not sign the agreement but just initialed it, and that it is "a proposal which both sides will accept or reject in the coming days." "Our institutions will decide in the next few days whether we will accept or reject it," said Dacic, specifying that Belgrade will deliver a written response to EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on Monday.

 "I am grateful to Ashton, (Serbia's First Deputy Prime Minister) Aleksandar Vucic and the other members of the delegation. After meetings of the main committee of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and the leadership of other parties, the Serbian government will have a united stance on this issue. There must be no divisions in this matter. 

Either we will unilaterally accept it or we will unilaterally reject it," said Dacic, who showed the initialed agreement to reporters. Dacic said that under the agreement, the community of Serb municipalities will have significant authority in appointing a police commander and will propose a candidate for the position, and it will also have "a police force and judiciary composed of Serbs." The community will have a district court department in Northern Mitrovica, where the community's seat will be located, its own property, account, assembly, president, vice president and "council as a kind of government," as well as full oversight and executive powers in education, healthcare, culture and spatial planning. 

"This proposal is much better than the ones we were offered previously. I want to thank Catherine Ashton on her efforts and the understanding she has shown for the reasoned and justified demands of the Serbian side," said Dacic. The prime minister stressed that there will be no further talks in Brussels about the agreement, and repeated that Ashton will receive a written response on Monday, adding that all that remains now is to weigh the good and the bad. "This is not easy for us, it is not easy to make decisions like these, which are important not just for us but for the future as well," said Dacic. Photo Screenshot Tanjug video

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