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Head of Serbia's negotiating team to visit Pristina today

12. May 2011. | 06:28

Source: Emg.rs

Head of Serbia's negotiating team in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Borislav Stefanovic will visit Kosovo-Metohija, where he will meet with head of Pristina's team Edita Tahiri, Kosovo Albanian leaders and representatives of the Serb community in Kosovo south and north of the Ibar River, as well as appear on Kosovo television.

Head of Serbia's negotiating team in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Borislav Stefanovic will visit Kosovo-Metohija, where he will meet with head of Pristina's team Edita Tahiri, Kosovo Albanian leaders and representatives of the Serb community in Kosovo south and north of the Ibar River, as well as appear on Kosovo television.

The visit, which has been approved by the Kosovo government, is part of the preparations for the fourth round of talks due to take place later this month.

Ahead of the visit, Stefanovic said that, considering the number of problems between Belgrade and Pristina, it would be good for the negotiators to see each other more often and not just at the official meetings in Brussels.

"In that sense, I invited Ms. Tahiri to Belgrade, but since things are moving slowly, I decided to go to Pristina," Stefanovic said.

Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic assessed that Stefanovic's visit to Pristina is a gesture which shows Serbia's pragmatism and readiness for compromise, but reiterated that it will not renounce Kosovo.

Almost all political party leaders in Kosovo have expressed willingness to meet with Stefanovic, with the exception of opposition movement Self-Determination leader Albin Kurti, who called the visit a provocation.

Tadic says Stefanovic's visit to Pristina helps dialogue
Serbian President Boris Tadic said Wednesday that a visit to Kosovo by head of the Belgrade team for the talks with Pristina Borko Stefanovic will improve the atmosphere of the dialogue.

Stefanovic will clarify Serbia's intentions during the visit and try to agree on a set of common goals for the talks, Tadic noted, adding that he met with Stefanovic Tuesday.

Tadic refused to make any connections between the talks and Serbia's efforts of becoming a candidate for EU membership because, as he put it, when it comes to its territorial integrity, Serbia has certain red lines it will not cross during any stage of EU integration.

"Serbia wishes to settle the conflict in Southeastern Europe, but we cannot be conditioned by any demands regarding our territorial integrity," he stressed, adding that Serbia would never give up on protecting that integrity.

In response to comments stating that it would be good for Belgrade to close one of the chapters in its talks with Pristina before october, when the European Commission is scheduled to announce its opinion on whether Serbia should become an EU candidate, Tadic remarked he would love to see all of the chapters closed as soon as possible in the interest of the citizens.

"I wish for all the chapters of the talks to be closed before October, but I would not make a connection between this dialogue and the European Commission opinion," he stated.

Kosovo's opposition against Stefanovic's visit

The opposing parties in Kosovo object the visit of the head of the Serb delegation for the negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade, Burko Stefanovic, in Kosovo. Shpend Ahmeti from “Vetevendosje” movement, defined Stefanovic’s visit as unacceptable, considering the actual situation.

“An official from a country that does not accept the independence of Kosovo will be welcomed with the highest respect by the governmental institutions. It is not the first time that Thaci’s government makes similar compromises, and this does not surprise us. We define it more as an offense than a provocation for the citizens of Kosovo,” said Ahmeti.

The head of the Parliamentary Group of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AFK), Ardian Gjini said for Albanian Screen that Stefanovic’s visit in Kosovo infringes the country’s sovereignty.

“We think we have a government and we have a sovereign country such as Serbia, and if a political director comes from Belgrade to Kosovo, he should be welcomed by the political director of Kosovo, and not by the Prime Minister. We think that people’s sovereignty is not represented in a dignified way when a Deputy Prime Minister meets with an official of the Serb administration,” said Gjini.


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