Brussels, August 31, 2017. Photo: BETA, European Council/Christos DOGAS/DS.

Brussels-facilitated dialogue continues as Thaci calls for Kosovo ‘Unity Team’

Kosovo and Serbia will fully implement the integration of Kosovo’s judiciary soon, announced EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic discussed the EU-facilitated dialogue at a Thursday morning meeting in Brussels. The meeting, hosted by Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was the first rendezvous since the two presidents agreed to start “a new phase” of the dialogue in July.

In a press statement, Mogherini announced that the presidents agreed to finalize the implementation of the agreement on justice–which foresees the integration of northern Kosovo into a unified justice system–by October 17, 2017.

On that day, Judges, Prosecutors and judicial staff will be integrated into the Kosovo Judiciary. The integration of the judicial personnel will allow for justice to be delivered across Kosovo and, in particular, in the Mitrovica region,” the statement reads.

In July, Edita Tahiri, Kosovo’s departing Minister for Dialogue, wrote a letter to European External Action Service Director Angelina Eichhorst, arguing that Serbia was blocking the justice agreement by “delaying the process of consolidation of the Basic Court and Prosecutor’s office in the Mitrovica region.” She added that Serbia was stalling on agreements reached on energy and diplomas, and that once the new government is formed, Kosovo will fulfill its obligations for the agreement on the association of Serb-majority municipalities.

Thursday’s meeting between the presidents comes after months of suspension of the dialogue, triggered by Ramush Haradinaj’s arrest on a 2004 INTERPOL warrant issued by Serbia. Institutional crisis and a vote of no-confidence in the Mustafa government left the dialogue suspended until President Thaci went to Brussels for an informal meeting, indicating that the dialogue would move up to the presidential level.

On Wednesday President Hashim Thaci called for the creation of a ‘unity team’ to represent Kosovo institutions, political parties, and civil society in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

Kosovo dailies reported that some politicians were wary of the proposed initiative; Vetevendosje rejected it, LDK stated that they are against ‘surrogate forums,’ and Xhavit Haliti from PDK said that the Assembly should have its say in the format of the talks.

In an interview with BIRN, Vetevendosje candidate for prime minister Albin Kurti said that if he comes into office, he would halt the dialogue with Serbia and instead push for talks with international partners on Kosovo-Serbia relations and an internal dialogue with Kosovo Serbs.

“The dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has been interrupted for more than six months. Why should we restart a dialogue that is already dead,” he asked rhetorically.

After the arrest of Bogdan Mitrovic on war crimes charges in Suhareka, President Vucic said that it is his responsibility to talk to Kosovo President Hashim Thaci in Brussels because he “does not see another way to solve the problem except through conversation.” He added that it is “his job to talk in Brussels, but also to take care of all citizens, children, and even Mitrovic,” reported B92.

President Thaci took to Facebook after the meeting to ask Kosovo politicians to push aside their party interests to establish the new government and the president’s proposed unity team.

“In this dialogue, Kosovo needs to be represented in unity as never before to conclude once and for all the century-old conflict with Serbia and open the path to the peace and welfare of citizens,” he said.

31/08/2017 - 13:28

31 August 2017 - 13:28

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