Clinton, Ashton Urge Serbia To Continue Kosovo Talks


By Bojana Barlovac

The US and EU diplomacy chiefs have urged Serbia to continue talks with Kosovo in order to realise its European destiny.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Catherine Ashton, said after meetings with Serbian leaders on Tuesday that they did not come to pose ultimatums but to support Serbia on its EU path.


“That’s why we strongly support the dialogue,” Clinton told reporters referring to the EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina talks in Brussels.

Ashton said that the future of Serbia lay within the EU, and talks with Serbian leaders were focused on Serbia’s future moves in order to achieve that goal.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said after the meeting that Belgrade was ready to reach a deal with Kosovo but will not recognize the former province’s independence, proclaimed in 2008.

“The government has taken the responsibility to implement the agreements [with Kosovo] that the previous government reached, and will continue the talks,” Dacic said on Tuesday.

The EU-mediated talks, aimed at normalising relations between Kosovo and Serbia, started last March.

So far, the two sides have reached deals on freedom of movement, university diplomas and regional representation. However, not all the deals have been implemented.

Some 4,000 Serbian policemen and a number of US FBI police provided security in the Serbian capital ahead of Clintin’s visit.

The opposition nationalist Serbian Radical Party staged a peaceful protest against the visit in front of the Serbian Presidency building on Tuesday.

On Monday evening, right-wingers staged a protest in the city centre, waving Serbian flags. Nationalists still strongly resent America’s crucial military and diplomatic support for Kosovo’s independence.

Clinton’s husband, Bill, was US President during NATO’s air war against Serbia in 1999, which forced Serbia to relinquish de facto control of the then province.

Clinton and Ashton come to Belgrade after visiting Sarajevo, Bosnia. The pair are travelling on to Kosovo, Albania and Croatia.

Clinton last visited the Balkans in 2010.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly 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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