Serbia to Put Kosovo Border Deal Into Action

Belgrade has told Brussels that it is ready to implement an agreed deal with Kosovo on joint control of the border.Dejan Pavicevic, head of Belgrade’s negotiating team in the EU-led dialogue with Kosovo, on Monday said Serbia had told the European Commission that it accepted the agreement on Integrated Border Management, IBM.

“The Serbian government accepts the IBM technical protocol, which the former negotiator already initialed on behalf of the previous [Democrat-led] government,” Pavicevic told the Serbian news agency, Tanjug.

Pavicevic said that implementation of the border agreement would start immediately after working groups are formed.

“Through the working groups, we will strive to change and improve certain decisions and make them less problematic, more acceptable to Serbia,” Pavicevic said.

The two sides reached an agreement on management of the border crossings in Brussels on December 2. The issue is controversial in Serbia, which does not recognise Kosovo’s independence.

The deal formed part of the EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina talks, which started in March 2011. Serbia has not implemented the agreement since then.

The European Commission developed the concept of Integrated Border Management, IBM, specifically for the Western Balkans.

The basic principle is that all the relevant authorities and agencies involved in border security and trade on both sides of the frontier work together in coordination.

Under the terms of the deal, Kosovo and Serbian customs and police officers will stand under one roof once the agreement is put into operation.

Police from the EU rule-of-law mission, EULEX, are expected to observe the two sides jointly managing the cross-border flow of goods and passengers.

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