Serbia Urged to Participate in Meetings With Kosovo

Serbia should take part in all regional meetings, whether or not Kosovo representatives are present, the director of Serbia’s EU Integration Office, Milan Pajevic, said.The director of the Serbian government’s EU Integration Office said that accepting the presence of Kosovo representatives at international meetings did not imply recognition of Kosovo’s independence, proclaimed in 2008, which Serbia has said it will never recognise.“Serbia should take part in all regional forums where Pristina representatives are participating because that is in the interest of our country,” Pajevic said.

“Self-isolation is counter-productive and will continue to put us in a passive position,” Pajevic added, talking to the Belgrade newspaper Blic.

“If it is quite necessary to point out our well-known position on the subject [of Kosovo’s independence], then it is quite enough for our representatives to read an appropriate text at the beginning of each meeting,” he continued.

“Potential critics of such a position should assure the public that it is good that Serbia did not get 3 million euro from the Western Balkans Investment Program because our representatives did not attend a meeting in Vienna in June, due to the lack of the footnote [under Kosovo’s name]. There are dozens of similar examples,” Pajevic noted.

Pejevic was referring to Serbia’s earlier agreement to take part in meetings alongside its former province as long as Kosovo attended such meetings with a name plate simply reading “Kosovo” and an explanatory footnote beside its name.

[The footnote text was to say that use of the term “Kosovo” did not prejudge Kosovo’s diplomatic status, which Serbia contests.]

Pajevic meanwhile said that a date for the start of Serbia’s EU accession talks would be set once the EU deems that all the criteria set by the European Council in December have been met.

“Bearing in mind the amount of work, it is not quite realistic to expect it by the end of this year,” he said.

“On the other hand, it would have to be before next summer,” he concluded.

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