ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo Opposition Wants Voice In Pristina-Belgrade Talks

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By Petrit Collaku

Opposition parties in Kosovo say that all groups in parliament must be involved in determining the content of the upcoming talks between Belgrade and Pristina.

Sabri Hamiti, the vice-president of the assembly and a lawmaker from Kosovo’s largest oppposition party, the Democratic League, LDK, said the dialogue with Serbia is not a priority for Kosovo and that it should not be a priority for the new government.

“It is up to the Assembly to discuss the government’s priorities because it is the Assembly that supervises the government on all levels of politics, whether internal or external,” Hamiti said on Monday.

Kosovo
Kosovo

Meanwhile, Ardian Gjini, the head of the AAK’s parliamentary group, said that the talks are of a political nature, a stance shared by the LDK, and that Kosovo government should look to the assembly first since they do not enjoy the support of the majority of ethnic Albanians in the assembly.

“The majority of Albanians are in opposition. In this case there should not be any talks at all without going through the Assembly,” Gjini said.

He added that any other option does not have legitimacy and it is destined to fail from the beginning.

Kosovo’s government, which was approved by the narrowest of margins, is a coalition cabinet that is led by the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, and includes a Serb party, the Independent Liberal Party.

Assembly speaker Jakup Krasniqi, from the ruling party PDK, backs the idea that the assembly should adopt a resolution which would determine the topics of the dialogue with Serbia.

Krasniqi hopes that the group of parties in power and the opposition in particular will submit a request to debate the matter.

“I think that the Assembly needs to issue a resolution which would set the framework of what can be discussed and what cannot be discussed,” Krasniqi told journalists.

Vetevendosje, or Self-determination movement, which is also in opposition after the December elections, claims that a debate on the issue in the assembly is needed, despite the fact that the party is opposed to any talks with Serbia.

Last week, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci met with Robert Cooper, from the office of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who will facilitate the talks, and reiterated that negotiations with Serbia will focus on practical issues such as trade, freedom of movement and regional cooperation.

He has appointed Deputy Prime Minister Edita Tahiri to lead Pristina’s delegation for the talks with Belgrade, which are expected to begin in March.

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The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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