Kosovo PM Thaci abandons negotiations

SOURCE: B92, BETA, TANJUG 17 – 04 – 13

BELGRADE — Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci has left the negotiating table dissatisfied with a new proposal made by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, B92 has learned.

There have been speculations that Serbia has received a more favorable offer.

A trilateral meeting between Belgrade and Priština’s negotiating teams and Ashton started around 15:35 CET in Brussels. After Thaci left the talks, the participants took a break.

The Priština team first met with Ashton at 10:30 CET and her meeting with the Belgrade team started at 11:40.

The meeting between the EU high representative and the Serbian negotiating team lasted for two and a half hours and the two teams then held separate consultations. Another round of bilateral meetings followed after that.

Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci said ahead of the meeting with Ashton that Priština advocated an agreement with Belgrade that would contribute to good neighborly relations and Kosovo and Serbia’s European future.

“We have come here with the best intentions to reach an agreement between the state of Kosovo and Serbia, an agreement in the spirit of good neighborly relations and the two countries’ Euro-Atlantic future and their people,” Thaci told reporters.

He added that the agreement would in the best interest of not only Kosovo but Serbia and the entire region and the EU and expressed hope that “Serbia will work” on reaching it.

The main topic that will be discussed at today’s round of talks is a community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo.

Aside from Prime Minister Ivica Da?i?, First Deputy PM Aleksandar Vu?i?, Deputy PM Suzana Grubješi?, Office for Kosovo Director Aleksandar Vulin and presidential advisor Marko ?uri? are also attending the meeting as members of the Serbian delegation.

Vu?i? took part in the last round of talks on April 2.

B92 has learned that Belgrade received an “improved” offer from Brussels today.

The Belgrade and Priština delegations will meet at Ashton’s invitation.

“I have invited tomorrow, Wednesday April 17, Prime Minister Ivica Da?i? and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci for a meeting in Brussels. I have asked them to come in a constructive spirit, ready to explore different options and agree to a mutual compromise,” Ashton said on Tuesday.

Thaci said ahead of today’s meetings that he was hoping that an agreement on normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia would be reached, adding it was in best interest of both sides.

He told reporters that it would put an end to a “century-long conflict between the two countries” and that it would contribute to normalization of “good neighborly relations”.

Faculty of Political Sciences professor Predrag Simi? has stated that either an agreement will be reached today or someone else will have to take over the mediating role from the EU.

He told RTS that Ashton’s invitation to the new round of the dialogue was a surprise, bearing in mind that nothing had happened in the meantime that would make the new round more successful than the previous ones.

Simi? noted that he did not believe that Priština would change its stance, bearing in mind Thaci’s statements, and that Belgrade did not have much room to make more concessions.

“Serbia has not given up on the dialogue because it neither could nor wanted to. But it takes two to have a dialogue. Serbia has gone very far to meet the other side halfway in order to reach some agreement but the other side has not reciprocated in kind,” he pointed out.

According to him, an agreement represents a challenge both for Belgrade and Priština but also for Brussels which has not proven itself capable of completing the negotiations on the crisis in former Yugoslavia.