EULEX chief discusses role in Kosovo

EULEX chief Yves de Kermabon said that EULEX gives technical advice in Kosovo for political discussions that are led “on a higher level”.

He said that he was ready to stay for another mandate when his current expires on June 15, and when a decision on the extension of the EU mission’s mandate is expected.

He said that his current position was more demanding than his time spent as a KFOR commander.

“I would like to be precise, we are not conducting political discussions, this mission is not political but technical. All 27 member-states of the EU agreed on the mission, five of which have not recognized Kosovo’s independence, so we are not dealing with status issues,” he said.

Kermabon said that it was true that there were people who were trying to brand the mission a political one, but that he was fighting to explain that it was in fact technical.

“There are some items that are may be political, such as customs. But in this question, we are trying to give technical advice and that is all we are doing. Everything above that is not in our jurisdiction,” he said.

Concerning the issue of customs, Kermabo said that EULEX is monitoring and controlling the movement of products and people across the administrative line, checking documents and working on exchanging information between the “Kosovo and Serbian sides”.

“We have been successful in decreasing smuggling and organized crime, but we are nearing a certain limit where the technical aspects of our work are ending. That is why we are not getting to the political level, on which we must reach a certain type of agreement on the question of customs and find a better solution,” he said.

“Some proposals where given to the Serbian government and we hope hat we will reach an agreement through dialogue. It is in the interest of all of us, since there are many problems related to taxation. I must stress again that these things are not in our jurisdiction, but a topic of discussion between various EU officials, Belgrade and Foreign and Security Policies Chief Catherine Ashton,” he said.

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