Serbia and Kosovo fail to agree implementation of historic deal

By bne IntelliNews May 9, 2013

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In a reminder that the road ahead for Serbia and Kosovo remains rocky, the pair failed on May 8 to find an agreement on implementation of their deal to normalize relations, less than three weeks after the two sides were hailed for the breakthrough.

"I can confirm that the implementation plan was not agreed," said Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, according to dpa. "Implementation of the agreement is key, but that needs to be done by Belgrade and Pristina."

Ashton brokered the historic normalization deal, which promises to open the door for closer ties with the EU for both Serbia and its mostly ethnic Albanian former province. But few were in any doubt that implementation would prove just as tricky as sealing an agreement on paper. EU officials have warned that they expect "determination" from the pair to put it into practice by June, when Brussels will decide whether to open talks with Serbia on accession, and with Kosovo on an association deal.

Pristina blamed the other side for the failure, saying Belgrade tried opening issues outside the agreement, struck in April after 10 rounds of negotiations at the prime ministerial level. The top-level talks are due to resume in May, officials said in Belgrade and Pristina.

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