Thursday, March 14, 2013

Belgrade, Priština reach agreement, daily claims

BELGRADE -- Belgrade and Priština have reached an agreement on a community of Serb municipalities, Belgrade-based daily Blic claims.
Ivica Dačić, Catherine Ashton and Hashim Thaci (Beta, file)
Ivica Dačić, Catherine Ashton and Hashim Thaci (Beta, file)
According to the daily, both sides have requested more time from the EU in order to prepare the public.
A well-informed source from the EU told Blic that it was obvious that neither Serbs nor Albanians would be satisfied with the solution.

He said that “as far as the EU is concerned, an agreement between Belgrade and Priština has been reached”, adding that Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić’s statements had caused some concern in the EU.

“EU High Representative Catherine Ashton’s mission has succeeded and as far as we are concerned, an agreement between Serbia and Kosovo on the establishment and powers of the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo has been reached. However, both sides asked for a little more time to prepare the public for the agreement because both sides had to give up on parts of their requests in order to reach the agreement. What caused concern in Brussels was Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić’s statement after the meeting with Catherine Ashton that Priština has relented, because it threatened to harm the deal,” the source was quoted as saying.

Serbian PM Ivica Dačić said on Wednesday that the EU “is not giving any ultimatums to Serbia“ and denied that the agreement had been reached.

“Progress was made in the dialogue but we are far from a solution. I cannot say I am a great optimist. There is an opinion that Belgrade will do anything for a date (for the start of the EU accession negotiations). This is wrong, Belgrade is not doing this because of a date but in order to find a sustainable solutions for the functioning of institutions that will be recognized by both Belgrade and Priština,” he explained.

On the other hand, Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci believes that Ashton’s visit will be an encouragement in terms of the agreement and normalization of relations with Belgrade.

The agreement with Priština is a key request for Serbia in order to get a date for the beginning of the EU accession talks.

Journalist Živojin Rakočević, who lives in Kosovo, told Radio B92 that he did not expect the international community to exert pressure on Priština in a true sense of the word.

“It is obvious Priština is asked to formally accept something that does not sound good now. But the point is not what Priština will accept but what it wants and can implement. This is the basis of the problem. We have had no guarantees in the past 13 years that Priština has implemented anything that did not suit it. You can not expect from a half-built society that has no capacity to implement democratic standards. However, this society sees the democratic standards as the other side’s weakness,” he explained.

He also believes that the position of Serbs south of the Ibar River will depend on a solution for northern Kosovo.

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