Serbia, Kosovo reach framework agreement on how to implement April deal

By bne IntelliNews May 23, 2013

Serbia and Kosovo PMs – Ivica Dacic and Hashim Thaci, reached a framework agreement on Wednesday, May 22, on how to implement the historic reconciliation deal between the two states initialed in April, news agency Tanjug reported.

Dacic and Thaci discussed in particular the text of the pact and its implementation schedule in a two-day meeting in Brussels hosted by EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Dacic told reporters after the talks that the Serbian government will come out with its opinion on the text, including the time frame and the tasks to be carried out in the coming months, by the end of the week.

He said it is important an agreement on the implementation is reached before the June decision of the European Council on whether to award Serbia a date for starting accession talks.

The two sides will now form working groups to determine what kind of legal adjustments are needed for the timely start of the implementation. Kosovo’s Thaci said after the talks the parties agreed on the steps that should be taken in the next six months. He added the details will be settled by expert teams of the two governments.

Dacic described the final round of the talks with Thaci as “long, hard and very delicate”.

Under the agreement reached this week, the heads of the four mainly Serb populated municipalities in northern Kosovo will form a temporary body that will apart from other things prepare the statute on the Association of Serb Municipalities, Dacic said. The Association will be established following the local elections due by end-2013.

One of the key points in the agreement reached between Serbia and Kosovo on April 19 is focused on providing adequate rights and security to Serbs living in northern Kosovo and eliminating the parallel Serb-Kosovan institutions there.

The four mostly-Serb populated municipalities will be organised in a special association that will delegate representatives to the regional police, while there will be a court division sitting permanently in northern Mitrovica. However, the legal and the police system of the region will be fully-integrated into the Kosovo’s state-level one.

The two parties also agreed that neither of them will block, nor encourage others to block the other side's EU integration progress. As a result of the deal, the European Commission has recommended that the EU gives Serbia a sate to start candidacy talks and opens negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo – the first formal step towards joining the block.

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