Kosovo to talk to Serbia despite political crisis

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has agreed to begin the EU-brokered talks with Serbia before early elections February and despite the current political crisis in Pristina. “The (first) meeting between the two sides should happen in weeks,” the Koha Ditore Daily quoted an anonymous European official.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s special envoy for the dialogue, Robert Cooper, “has convinced the (Kosovo) government that the dialogue should start before the national elections.”
Cooper visited Pristina and Belgrade earlier this month.

In September Serbia and Kosovo agreed to start EU-brokered talks to resolve outstanding issues, but they set no starting date.

“Brussels has not asked leaders of the both sides to take part but certainly asked the delegations of the both countries to be led by officials close to Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and President of Serbia Boris Tadic,” the paper said.

Kosovo last week called early elections for February 13 to resolve the political crisis caused by the surprise resignation of president Fatmir Sejdiu, who chairs the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). The crisis escalated a day later when the LDK decided to quit Thaci’s government, in which it was a junior coalition partner. Interim president Jakup Krasniqi said Monday the country faced an institutional crisis and possible snap elections before New Year. The vote will mark the first general elections since Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia in February 2008.

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