EU Mounts Pressure on Kosovo, Serbia to Reboot Talks

World | November 15, 2011, Tuesday // 16:26|  views

German NATO peacekeepers during a patrol on the main bridge of the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, Kosovo, 30 September 2011. EPA/BGNES

The European Union mediator for Kosovo is pushing Belgrade and Pristina to resume their interrupted dialogue later this week in Brussels, according to reports.

But Robert Cooper, EU mediator of Kosovo-Serbia talks, has yet to persuade Belgrade to return to the talks it left in September amid violence in the volatile ethnic Serb enclave in northern Kosovo, the daily Pristina Express reported Tuesday, as cited by DPA.

"I can say that Mr Cooper is engaging with the Serbian side for a meeting to be held on Friday," Visar Xani, adviser to Kosovo's chief negotiator, Edita Tahiri, told the Express.

Serbian leaders have been unable to agree on how to return to the negotiating table, a crucial condition if the country is to be recognized as an EU membership candidate next month.

President Boris Tadic and his ruling Democratic Party are desperate to restart the talks and prove that there have been sufficient advances so that the European Union allows Serbia to make progress toward EU membership before parliamentary elections in 2012, DPA points out.

The EU began the talks in March, aimed at resolving technical issues stemming from Kosovo's secession from Serbia and the ongoing row between the two.

But the Kosovo Serbs rejected the talks and refused to implement the agreements from initial rounds, saying those agreements were giving Kosovo's government too much control over their enclave, a trend the Serbs fiercely resist.

The Serbs insist that their enclave is Serbian soil and look to Belgrade as their capital.

Yet, they also rejected orders from Belgrade to end a total blockade of traffic in northern Kosovo that they launched two months ago to stop Kosovo from deploying customs officers to their border with Serbia, and effectively preventing the restart of the talks.

Even without the row with their compatriots, Tadic's authorities are also divided over whether to return to the talks and under what conditions, the daily Danas reported.

The former Serbian province broke away in February 2008. As of October 2011, the Republic of Kosovo has received 87 diplomatic recognitions as an independent state.

In addition to Serbia, major non-recognizers include Russia, China, Brazil, and 5 out of 27 EU member states.

Serbia insists that it will never recognize Kosovo's independence and is financing the resistance of Kosovo Serbs to Pristina authorities.

We need your support so can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Tags: kosovo, Serbia, Kosovo Serbs, Northern Kosovo, ethnic Albanians, Serbs, Russia, Prishtina, Belgrade, Marko Jaksic, EU, European Union, Kosovo Albanians, Serbia EU accession


» Related Articles: