Serbia Wants Kosovo Talks at Technical Level

Serbia’s Socialist-led government has expressed its readiness to resume talks with Kosovo at the technical level.Aleksandar Vulin, the Head of the Government Office for Kosovo, says the talks with Kosovo will be technical rather than political in nature, and that they would focus on energy and telecommunications.

He also stressed that Serbia is waiting for “the other side” before starting the talks, which he described as “a two-way street”.

EU-mediated talks between Belgrade and Pristina started in March 2011 with the aim of normalising relations between the two countries, both of which share a desire to join the EU one day.

The two sides have reached deals on trade, freedom of movement, the cadastral registry, mutual recognition of university diplomas, border control management and on the representation of Kosovo at regional meetings.

But not all of the agreements have been implemented.

Vulin asserted that this government, unlike the previous one, maintained good communications with the Serbs in Kosovo, and was regularly harmonizing issues with them.

“There will be neither negotiations nor a platform if the Serbs from Kosovo do not have their say about it,” he was quoted as saying.

Vulin said that Serbia’s platform on Kosovo would be presented to the public shortly.

“The main points were set down in President Tomislav Nikolic’s speech at the UN General Assembly, and what he said to [EU High Representative Catherine] Ashton, and all the concrete proposals and ideas will be derived from that,” Vulin said.

Vulin visited the Kosovo Serbs on Monday and said that the conditions under which the Serbs lived were “hellishly difficult”.

According to Vulin, the problems of the Serbs in Kosovo stem from the economy and violence, while their biggest problem was security.

He noted that Serbia was already working on the economic issues, and those related to documentation, adding that the government is going to work to improve the conditions for school children, including their transport to school, and on securing the electricity supply in Serb-run northern Kosovo in the forthcoming months.

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