Thaci hails ‘New Chapter’ in relations with Serbia

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has met Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to discuss future talks between Belgrade and Pristina.

The two met at the United Nations headquarters in New York to explore ‘interstate cooperation between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia’, according to a press release issued by Thaci’s office late on Monday.

The Kosovar prime minister told Baroness Ashton that Pristina-Belgrade talks ‘represented a new chapter in relations in the region’.

The move indicates a another step forward in the long-expected negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo over the countries’ fractious relationship.

Earlier this month, Serbia changed its resolution, which followed the International Court of Justice’s ruling in favour of Kosovo, to the UN General Assembly at the last minute after intense negotiations with Baroness Ashton. The amended resolution dropped demands for negotiations over Kosovo’s status and called for EU-led talks.

A statement from Thaci’s office following the meeting read: “Prime Minister Hashim Thaci assessed the launch of this interstate cooperation as the beginning of a new chapter of advancing cooperation amongst the states in the region which the Republic of Kosovo has been promoting for a long time.”

Thaci said: “As Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, I and all the institutions of the country are open to talk to Serbia about issues of interest for our countries and our people. But we will never in any way talk about issues related to our internal state arrangements.”

According to the statement, Baroness Ashton encouraged Thaci to be ready for negotiations.

“This communication approach is in the interest of all and opens up the perspective for development in the region,” Baroness Ashton said during the meeting.

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