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Talks successful, Serbia meets candidacy terms

25. February 2012. | 19:22 08:25

Source: Emg.rs

The regional representation agreement states that an asterisk will be put next to Kosovo's name and a footnote saying that the name does not imply Kosovo's status and is in accordance with Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the International Court of Justice regarding Kosovo's declaration of independence.

The delegations of Belgrade and Pristina reached Friday in Brussels an agreement on regional representation of Kosovo, which is in keeping with Belgrade's requests, does not include any elements of Kosovo's statehood or prejudice its status.

Visibly satisfied with the outcome, head of Belgrade's negotiating team Borislav Stefanovic said that all the European Council requirements related to Serbia's candidate status have now been met.

"It is now up to the EU and its member states to decide based on the conclusions of the council," said Stefanovic.

The regional representation agreement states that an asterisk will be put next to Kosovo's name and a footnote saying that the name does not imply Kosovo's status and is in accordance with Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the International Court of Justice regarding Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Pristina's demand that the footnote reference the declaration of independence was not accepted.

The two sides also agreed on a technical protocol on joint management of administrative crossings, which Stefanovic described as fully in line with the Serbian national interest, Constitution and Resolution 1244.

"I want to share with you my satisfaction over the successful outcome of these hours and days of diplomatic battle," he remarked.

Edita Tahiri did not talk to reporters.

Tadic: Serbia didn't recognize Kosovo

The seminal Serbia-Kosovo agreement reached Friday is a welcome success, but it in no way implies a recognition of Kosovo's independence by Serbia, stated Serbian President Boris Tadic.

"I stress that according to the agreement, Kosovo will not be present in international forums as an independent state," said Tadic Friday.

"Pristina will be taking part in such meetings under the label "Kosovo*", with a footnote clarifying international decisions on Kosovo's controversial status," clarified the Serbian President.

On his part, Serbian President Tadic stated that the treaty defended Serbia's interests in the best way possible, and would actually help the country "gain a stronger influence on political and economic processes in Kosovo."

Tadic also stressed that in brokering the deal, Serbia was pursuing its goal to imminently receive an official status as EU candidate country, a pre-condition for which was a resumption of dialogue with Kosovo on a stable basis.

PM Cvetkovic: Agreement on regional representation of Pristina in accordance with Serbia’s interests

Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic expressed satisfaction with today’s agreement between Belgrade and Pristina on Kosovo's regional representation, noting that the agreed wording is balanced and in harmony with the interests of our country.

Cvetkovic said after meeting with the prime ministers from the region, held in Banja Luka, that he is optimistic concerning the awarding of candidate status for EU membership to Serbia.

KiM Minister: Agreement in Brussels confirm consistency of Serbian policies

Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic said today that the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels is the success of the Serbian diplomacy in extremely difficult conditions and a step that will stabilise the entire region and provide the chance for peace, dialogue and negotiations.

Bogdanovic told Tanjug news agency that the agreement shows that Serbia is consistent in implementing its policies and commitment to solving the Kosovo-Metohija problem only through dialogue and achieving sustainable compromise.

The Minister said that Serbia will continue to be constructive and open for dialogue in order to find a compromise solution to the problems affecting ordinary people.

We will continue to fight for solutions that are best for Serbia that comply with our national interests and the Serbian Constitution, and the result is that consistent policy of today’s agreement in Brussels, Bogdanovic reiterated.

The acquisition of candidate status is important because it means a more certain and better future, it contributes to economic security of our country and creates a better position for defending our interests in Kosovo-Metohija, Bogdanovic concluded.

Stefanovic: Dialogue in heavy atmosphere, Pristina responsible

Head of Belgrade's team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic told Tanjug that Thursday's talks were held in a very heavy atmosphere and that the Pristina delegation is responsible.

"Pristina came from a very negative position, at times completely irrational. We are trying to arrive at a solution in a constructive and rational manner, of course adhering to (UN Security Council) Resolution 1244," Stefanovic said.

The talks stopped around midnight Thursday and will resume Friday morning.

Stefanovic stressed that even following 16 hours of talks, the Belgrade delegation is ready to do everything to bring the views of the two sides closer.

"Yesterday we come somewhat closer as far as defining the footnote which will accompany the name of Kosovo. It is still the main point of contention," Stefanovic said.

He said the chances of reaching an agreement Friday largely depend on whether Pristina will realize that international circumstances have changed when it comes to meeting their demands.

"Another day of talks is ahead of us, and we all hope it will not be a long one," Stefanovic said.

Head of the Serbian government’s team for dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic will hold a press conference on 25 February at 12.00 in the government’s press room, Nemanjina 11.

Delevic: Serbia’s final goal EU membership

Director of the Office for European Integration Milica Delevic said today that the agreement on regional representation of Pristina, which was reached in Brussels, is an important step toward granting candidate status to Serbia on 1 March.

Delevic told the Tanjug news agency that it is now necessary to continue with the existing level of engagement and wait for the final decision of the European Council.

Delevic said that agreement on regional representation of Pristina allows all to participate freely in regional cooperation and shows that consistent cooperation and better communication leads to better understanding and more trust.

The candidate status is not the ultimate goal for Serbia, but we are looking toward full membership, she noted and explained that it will allow the protection of economic and other interests of Serbia.

We also need to continue with reform processes and solve the problems that we face keeping in mind that this is something that is important for the citizens of Serbia, which will consequently also allow for the country’s further progress towards the EU, concluded Delevic.

Kosovo PM: Decision implies integration, not isolation

Kosovo Prime Minister Hasim Taci stated Friday that, by the agreement on regional representation, Kosovo obtained international state subjectivity, adding that this represents a decision on integration, and not isolation of Kosovo.

We have made a decision for the future of Kosovo. That is a decision for integration, and not isolation of Kosovo, for Kosovo to present itself, rather than for it to be presented by others. As of today, UNMIK will not be at the table where Kosovo is represented, the Kosovo prime minister stated at a news conference.

Taci stressed that the agreement is a ticket to the visa liberalization process, establishing trade relations between Kosovo and the EU, and the beginning of the stabilization and association process.

According to him, the formulation in the agreement is not ideal, but is currently the most acceptable one.
Petrit Seljimi
:Footnote is one word, participation is what counts

Kosovo's Deputy Foreign Minister Petrit Seljimi said Friday that with the agreement on Kosovo's regional representation reached in Brussels, Kosovo will become a member of 36 regional initiatives, adding that it plans to use the same formula for accession to other international organizations, and that Belgrade and Pristina should finally take strides toward the EU together.

Kosovo will not be an observer, or an associate member, but a full-fledged member with right of signature. So far we have had participation through UNMIK and the Gymnich formula. This means we will have the right to consensual relations. This is important for us because it allows us to have greater interaction and be a more responsible member of the international community, he explained to Serbian reporters.

Seljimi said the agreement in Brussels means Kosovo and Serbia will be sitting and the same table and that Pristina will be able to open an office in Belgrade.

The European process is important for all of us, and it is very important that we work together to come closer to the EU, he said.

The footnote is but one word, and the more important thing is to become a member of an organization, explained the deputy FM, adding that Pristina did not agree to asymmetrical representation, which would consign it to the status of an observer, because it wants to be a full-fledged member of regional initiatives.

Seljimi said Pristina wants to use the formula reached in Brussels to join other organizations as well, as it already has relations with many pan-European organizations.

He stressed the goal is to use the formula not just at the regional level, but in the wider context of European organizations.


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