Pristina, Belgrade May Begin Talks This Year

Pristina and Belgrade may begin talks on decentralisation, cultural heritage and the northern part of Kosovo later this year. The possibility that talks will be held has increased after several EU and US officials visited Kosovo and Serbia.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also said indirectly in Pristina that Kosovo and Serbia could start discussions after the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sarajevo scheduled for June 2.

Pristina may create at least eight working groups to assist in technical preparations for the potential talks.

August is believed to be the month during which preparations for the talks will be conducted. The Italian ambassador to Kosovo, Michael Giffoni, who serves also as the EU envoy for the north of Kosovo, and Greek Ambassador Dimitris Moschopoulos are expected to assist in the facilitation of dialogue on technical issues.

Diplomatic sources claim that discussion can start after the International Court of Justice, ICJ, provides its opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence, which observers expect to be issued this summer.

It is estimated that decentralisation in the north of Kosovo will be a particularly difficult topic in any talks between the two parties. Decentralisation is already being applied in other municipalities with Serb majority populations, in accordance with the Ahtisaari plan.

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