Monday, March 24, 2014

Ashton on start of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina

BRUSSELS - The EU is not the one behind the Brussels agreement, but the prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has said at a panel discussion of the Brussels Forum. She said at an annual forum of the German Marshall Fund the Brussels agreement was not her doing, but of Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovo's Prime Minister Hasim Taci. 

 The key thing to achieving the agreement was that both sides saw that status quo benefited no one, Ashton stated, adding that she had merely helped them find a solution they could both accept. Ashton also stressed that no one had ever asked Serbia to recognize Kosovo or Kosovo to give up its independence. She explained how the talks started by saying that she had asked Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic to give dialogue a try and he agreed. 

 Two very nervous prime ministers appeared for the first round of the talks and it was not certain if there would be handshakes, but they did shake hands, although it was not photographed, Ashton noted describing the meeting that took place in her office. Everything was done to make sure Dacic and Taci were not uncomfortable, she added. 

 Belgrade and Pristina signed an agreement on the normalization of their relations in Brussels on April 19, 2013, which was facilitated by the EU. Based on thta agreement, a number of others were reached later, including the agreements on the police and creation of a community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo. However, because of obstructions from Pristina, the community has not been formed yet, so it will be one of the chief topics once the Brussels talks continue. Photo Tanjug, N.Jovanovic

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