Ashton: Dialogue promotes cooperation and leads to Europe
08. March 2011. | 07:14
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has stated that the goal of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is to promote cooperation, advance the two sides on their EU path, and improve life of ordinary people.
Ashton underlined in an interview for the Monday edition of the Belgrade-based daily Politika that many issues need to resolved regardless of Kosovo's status since that will be in the interest of both parties, and added that the upcoming talks are of vital importance for the region's European perspective.
She stressed that the dialogue is based on the Serbia-EU Resolution on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which was proposed by Serbia and EU countries, adding that the priority of the talks is addressing practical issues and improvement of daily life in Kosovo.
The Resolution of the UN General Assembly, which is the basis of the dialogue, was submitted by Serbia and 27 EU members. This means that at least six countries which drafted the Resolution do not recognize Kosovo. This is enough to prove that the dialogue will not prejudice the status of Kosovo and I do not believe that anything else would be acceptable either for Belgrade or Pristina, Ashton said.
According to her, the goals of the dialogue are already included in the Resolution and the focus is laid on solution of practical issues. I do not care whether the problems are qualified as political or technical, I only want to see them solved, the EU high representative said.
When asked about the numerous irregularities in the elections in Kosovo, the serious allegations against Hasim Taci presented in the Council of Europe (CoE), and the fact that EULEX has started a preliminary investigation into the issue, Ashton said that the role of the media is to create drama, whereas it is only important that the two parties are committed to the dialogue.
It was an important sign that one of the first decisions of the government of Kosovo was to name Edita Tahiri as Kosovo's representative in the talks with Belgrade. This proves the commitment that we demand.
The EU will continue to work with Hasim Taci and his government on promotion of state administration, strengthening of the rule of law and securing EU integration of all communities.
We take the report by CoE Special Rapporteur Dick Marty seriously, and EULEX has already launched a preliminary investigation into these allegations, she said. Ashton said that the EU facilitator for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will be Robert Cooper, who will chair the meetings and propose agendas.
When it comes to the U.S. role in the dialogue, Ashton said that U.S. is still important for entire Europe, and that it has had a special role in the Balkans during the last two decades.
The U.S. will get involved in the dialogue only upon the call of the EU that is when needed to promote the negotiation process, and not because it may assist one side or the other, Ashton said.