Serbia Minister: EULEX Doesn’t Back North Kosovo Strategy

Serbian Minister for Kosovo and Metohija has said that in talks with Yves de Kermabon, the chief of the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo, Kermabon indicated that the EU does not support the strategy for the north of Kosovo put forward by the ICO and the Kosovo government.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Minister Bogdanovic said that EULEX Chief de Kermabon told him that “EU does not support any violence and any imposed solutions for northern Kosovo.”

The strategy, which seeks to bring the Serb areas in Kosovo under Pristina’s control, was introduced in mid-January and drew strong opposition from Kosovo Serbs. It was prepared by the International Civil Office, ICO, headed by Pieter Feith, and the Kosovo Albanian government in Pristina.

The Serbian government and its Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija have rejected the plan for north Kosovo, claiming it is invalid.

De Kermabon met on Wednesday with Bogdanovic and Serbian State Secretary Slobodan Homen to find functional solutions in the field of justice, police and customs that are acceptable to all communities in Kosovo.

“Both parties agreed that the discussions, which concentrated on improving the rule of law situation in Kosovo, were frank, positive and constructive,” the EULEX press release reads.

The Serbian minister said that all the topics that burden the relations between EULEX and Belgrade were discussed at the meeting. According to him, Belgrade and EULEX will form working groups that will deal with technical issues in the field of customs, judiciary and police, though EULEX has denied that such working groups were discussed.

During the talks, Homen said that stress was put on the protection of rights for Kosovo Serbs, along with the functioning of legal institutions and the return of citizens’ trust in the legal system.

Thw two sides reportedly talked about need to process war criminals, the importance of the fight against organised crime, and the exchange of documents, which has been stalled for two years.

“We reiterated Serbia’s readiness to prosecute war crimes, but we need EULEX’s help,” Beta news agency quoted the minister as saying.

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