Kosovo Parliament, Serbia Govt Approve Reconciliation DealWorld | April 22, 2013, Monday // 11:59| views
(L-R) Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, Catherine Ashton and Kosovo`s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci prior to a meeting at the alliance`s headquarters in Brussels, in Bruss
The parliament of Kosovo and the government of Serbia have approved the groundbreaking reconciliation deal between Serbian PM Ivica Dacic and Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci.
Serbia's Parliament is to discuss the agreement on Thursday, amid a heated domestic debate.
The deal between Serbia and its breakaway province was signed Friday in Brussels under the mediation of EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Catherine Ashton.
"What we are seeing is a step away from the past and, for both of them, a step closer to Europe," commented Ashton.
Hardliners in both Kosovo and Serbia, on the other hand, have objected that the deal gives far too much to the other side.
The agreement does not constitute a recognition of Kosovo on the part of Serbia, but regulates the status of the ethnic Serbian majority in Northern Kosovo.
According to the deal, Serbs there will remain under Kosovar jurisdiction, but will have a broad autonomy, including their own police force.
A late Sunday night heated debate in the house in Pristina ended with 89 votes "for" and 5 "against" the treaty.
A rally had assembled in front of parliament in Kosovo's capital to express dissent with the agreement.
Sunday people greeted Dacic at the Belgrade marathon with a large sign reading "You Gave Kosovo Away," suggesting the agreement in effect recognizes the authority of Pristina.
According to the Serbian PM, his country has now received assurance from Catherine Ashton that it will imminently receive a start date for EU accession negotiations.
However, he said that this is not "an award" for the agreement reached with Kosovo.
Alexandar Vucic, leader of the nationalist-leaning Serbian Progressive Party, has already called fro a referendum.
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