Kocijancic: Negotiations must continue


Belgrade-Pristina talks must continue with a view to achieving a “comprehensive, realistic and viable normalisation of relations based on mutual agreement and principles of international law,” Maja Kocijancic spokesperson of the European Commission said in Brussels, Beta agency reports.

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini’s spokesperson added that the EU has repeatedly contacted Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, to discuss all pending issues.

She thus answered the question of whether the EC still considered a shift in border as one of the solutions – the idea that sparked controversy among EU Member States – having in mind that negotiations within the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue have fallen through.

Maja Kocijancic said that “the EU has made negotiating principles clear” adding that “the EU is working to reach an agreement that would be based on the international law and at the same time acceptable for both parties.” The goal, she said, is to reach “a legally binding agreement that will resolve all pending issues.”

She also said that she wasn’t at liberty to discuss details of those contacts. “As far as we are concerned, the dialogue must continue and we expect both sides to continue the dialogue with the same commitment and engagement as before,” she added.

When asked if the EC was still determined to reach a comprehensive agreement between Belgrade and Pristina in 2019 – bearing in mind that Vucic had previously stated that it will take at least 10 or 20 years to reach an agreement between Serbs and Albanians – Kocijancic said that the EU has increased its engagement with the Western Balkans at the highest possible level, noting that the dialogue has entered the second, more dynamic phase.

She, however, said no deadlines could be set as everything “clearly depended on the level of progress in negotiations.”

Kocijancic also said that “there will be no reconciliation, normalisation or good neighbourly relations unless politics of the past are abandoned and overcome, politics that have caused decades of suffering to the Western Balkans and its people.”

Kocijancic commented on a statement made by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic yesterday when he described former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic “as a great leader with the best of intentions.”

Federica Mogherini’s spokesperson said that “no space for ambiguity or praise to the politics and actions of (former Serbian President Slobodan) Milosevic should be left.”

“Verdicts of domestic and international courts are more than clear in this case,” Maja Kocijancic said, noting that “reconciliation and good neighbourly relations are the main supporting pillar of the European Union.”

She added that “all partners in the region have a clear European perspective and are therefore asked to respect those principles.”

Kocijancic quoted the EC President Jean-Claude Juncker who recently said that “nationalism is a part of the solution, only a part of the problem.”


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