Belgrade–Pristina negotiations

Belgrade–Pristina dialogue is a series of EU-facilitated talks between the governments of Serbia and Kosovo. Serbia claims Kosovo as its southern province under United Nations administration, and rejects its independence. Kosovo considers Serbia as a neighboring state. The negotiations began in March 2011. They are the first negotiations between the two entities since Kosovo declared independence.

Background

The Republic of Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008, and that move has only been partially recognised internationally. Serbia took the issue to the International Court of Justice for their advisory opinion.[1] The court's verdict was that Kosovo's Declaration of independence was in accordance with international law.[2][3] After the verdict Serbia and the European Union submitted a resolution to the United Nations General Assembly which called for technical negotiations between the governments in Belgrade and Pristina. The Serbia-EU resolution passed in the UN General Assembly. The talks were delayed due to Kosovo's government collapsing, forcing Kosovo into early elections.[4]

Negotiations

The talks take place in Brussels, Belgium and are mediated by the European Union represented by Robert Cooper. Borko Stefanović leads the Belgrade negotiating team and Edita Tahiri leads the Pristina negotiating team.[5] The talks began on 8 March 2011 and feature three main issues:[6]

  • Regional cooperation
  • Freedom of movement
  • Rule of law.

First round

The First Round of dialogue took place on 8–9 March 2011 and covered economic co-operation between the two parties.[7] Other issues on the agenda during the first round of dialogue were telecommunications, air traffic, customs seals, land books and civil records.[8]

Second round

The second round of negotiations was delayed until 28 March 2011. Issues discussed in the second round of talks were electricity and possibly Freedom of Movement, as well as concluding first round topics such as Kosovo's customs seal, air traffic and Kosovo's participation in regional initiatives.[8][9] On 28 March, the representative discussed land books and registries of births, deaths and marriages, as well as power supply issues. Stefanović stated that "Certain progress has been achieved on land books, birth registries and electric energy supply; we laid out our proposal and hope that there will finally be a positive wrap-up of these topics at the next meeting".[10]

Third round

The third round of talks took place on 15 April 2011 and the issues discussed were freedom of movement, registration plates for vehicles and the recognition of diplomas.[11][12]

Fourth round

The fourth round was held on 17 and 18 May 2011. Agreement was almost reached on the cadaster and freedom of movement; the European Union proposed to also tackle the issues of missing people and cultural heritage.[13]

Fifth round

The fifth round was set to take place on 14 and 15 June 2011, but was delayed a few days before.[14] It was assumed that it would instead be held in late June,[15] but was then set for 2 July 2011.[16] It was expected that solutions would be reached on the cadaster, freedom of movement and vital records. Electricity and telecommunications issues might also be resolved in that round.[17] Agreement was reached on freedom of movement across the border (both persons and cars), exchange of information regarding Serbia's civil registries to help Kosovo establish its own civil registry, and recognising each other's education diplomas.[18]

Sixth round

The sixth round was to take place on 20 and 21 July 2011.[19] They were postponed to September just a day before, allegedly because Kosovo's representative wanted to have Kosovo's state symbols shown, which the Serbian representative rejected.[20] They were later set for 2 September 2011.[21] Agreement was reached on the customs issue (the stamp will only feature the words "Customs of Kosovo") and on the cadaster; while telecommunications and university degrees were also discussed, no agreement was reached on these issues.[22]

Seventh round

The seventh round was scheduled for 28 September 2011 (it was initially scheduled for 27 September, but was postponed shortly before due to a flare-up in violence).[23][24] The Serb delegation refused to continue with the talks whilst Kosovo police and customs officials control border posts, which was not previously agreed and resulted in violence.[25] The talks were then set for 14 October 2011, though only technical issues were planned to be discussed.[26]

Outcome

  • Kosovo representatives agreed on freedom of movement across the administrative border, both for persons and cars.[18]
  • Belgrade has agreed to give Pristina copies of land registries and documents on births, deaths and marriages in Kosovo.[10]
  • Mutual Recognition of each other's University Diplomas.[18]
  • Belgrade has agreed to accept Kosovo Custom stamps which state "Customs of Kosovo".[22]
  • End of the trade embargo thus allowing trade between the two entities.[27]
  • Integrated operations at North Kosovo crossing points.[28]
  • Representation of Pristina authorities at regional organisations.[29]
  • Liaison officers would be exchanged between Belgrade and Pristina - to be stationed in EU missions.[30]

Further aims

It is expected additional agreements to be concluded about:

  • energy cooperation issues – electricity transmission, implementation of the Energy Community treaty[31]
  • telecommunications issues – landline and mobile phone services in North Kosovo, roaming[31]

International reaction

Political entity Reaction
 Albania Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha stated that he supports the "technical talks".[32]
 Austria Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said he thinks the start of the talks between Belgrade and Pristina was good and yielded results, despite a dose of restraint. He also welcomed the progress made in the talks, but stressed that normal relations between Serbia and Kosovo were still far away.[33]
 Croatia On 28 March 2011 Gordan Jandroković the Croatian Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration stated that "We support technical dialogue between the two states of Kosovo and Serbia, as two independent states. On this question, Croatia can serve as a model for regional cooperation, resolving technical issues between regional states".[34]
 European Union EU Mediator Robert Cooper stated that "The atmosphere was good. This was the first official meeting held in the last few years. The atmosphere was really good, friendly and sincere".[35]
 France French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that Kosovo has progressed since declaring independence in 2008, however he said that Kosovo needs to reform more and that is the objective of the dialogue with Belgrade.[36]
 Iran Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast stated that "The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes the beginning of direct talks between Serbia and Kosovo in line with the UN General Assembly's resolution".[37]
 Kosovo On 10 March 2011, the Kosovo Assembly passed a resolution (63 for and 57 against) in support of negotiations between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The resolution states that the negotiations should deal with "technical issues of common interest" and "can in no case involve the sovereignty ... and territorial integrity of Kosovo".[38]
 Serbia On 9 March 2011, Serbian Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović stated that the negotiations were "an opportunity to get to a historic compromise and historic reconciliation because the problems in the relations between Serbs and Albanians have already been there over the past few centuries" however "we will never recognise Kosovo as an independent creation, and it is good that these discussions have not been given a fixed term and that participants in the talks will not go to Brussels with ready-made solutions".[39] Borko Stefanović stated that Belgrade wants to discuss the status of Kosovo during the negations however Pristina is strongly opposed to negotiating on status and says that status is not up for negotiating. Stefanović rejected the claim that these were only 'technical negotiations', he states that "some issues only appear technical, but have a strong political dimension. Pristina's continued insistence on independence is nothing but self-encouragement".[40]
 United States U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Warlick said "we hope that this will be a positive and constructive process which will lead to betterment of everyday life of people in both countries. We strongly support the talks, and both teams have opened the dialogue well."[41]

See also

Notes

a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is recognized as an independent state by 104 out of 193 United Nations member states.

References

  1. ^ "Serbia challenges Kosovo secession at Hague court" bbc.co.uk 1 December 2011 Link retrieved 10 March 2011
  2. ^ "Latest developments - Accordance with international law of the unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo (Request for Advisory Opinion) - International Court of Justice". www.icj-cij.org.
  3. ^ "Kosovo independence move not illegal, says UN court" bbc.co.uk 22 July 2010 Link retrieved 10 March 2011
  4. ^ "Kosovo's government brought down by no-confidence vote" bbc.co.uk 2 November 2010 Link retrieved 10 March 2011
  5. ^ "Belgrade, Pristina launch new talks" setimes.com 9 March 2011 Link retrieved 10 March 2011
  6. ^ ""Three main topics" in Belgrade-Priština talks" Archived 8 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine. b92.net 7 March 2011 Link retrieved 10 March 2011
  7. ^ "First round of Belgrade-Priština talks ends" Archived 11 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine. b92.net 9 March 2011 Link retrieved 10 March 2011
  8. ^ a b "Belgrade-Priština dialogue continues in Brussels". B92. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Belgrade-Priština talks postponed". B92. Archived from the original on 26 March 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Teams report "progress" in Kosovo meetings". B92. Archived from the original on 30 May 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  11. ^ "New round of talks between Belgrade,Pristina on April 15". emg.rs. 14 April 2011. Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  12. ^ "Belgrade, Priština discuss freedom of movement". b92.net. 16 April 2011. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 2011-06-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ a b c "Serbia and Kosovo sign deals". Al Jazeera. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 2011-07-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 2011-08-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ a b "Kosovo talks produce deal on customs stamps". B92. 2 September 2011. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  23. ^ "Belgrade-Priština dialogue will continue". B92. 22 September 2011. Archived from the original on 24 September 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Serbia and Kosovo reach deal to end mutual trade embargo". Deutsche Welle. 2011-02-09. Retrieved 2011-03-09.
  28. ^ a b "EU facilitated dialogue: Agreement on Regional Cooperation and IBM technical protocol" (PDF).
  29. ^ "Kosovo*" will be the only denomination to be used and the footnote to be applied to the asterisk will read: "This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence". Until now agreements have been signed by UNMIK.[28]
  30. ^ Kosovo and Serbia agree on liaison officers: "would not be diplomats or … treated as ambassadors."
  31. ^ a b "Commission Opinion on Serbia's application for membership of the European Union, p12" (PDF).
  32. ^ "Berisha-Tahiri: Dialogue can not be done for boundaries change". albeu.com. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  33. ^ "Austrian foreign minister lobbies for recognition of Kosovo's independence by entire EU". emg.rs. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  34. ^ "Croatia offers comprehensive support for Kosovo's integration". Kosovo MFA. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  35. ^ "EU: Dialogue was constructive" Archived 11 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine. b92.net 10 March 2011 Link retrieved 13 March 2011
  36. ^ "French president Nicolas Sarkozy congratulated President Atifete Jahjaga". president-ksgov.net. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  37. ^ "Iran hails direct Kosovo-Serbia talks" Archived 8 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. presstv.ir 13 March 2011 Link retrieved 13 March 2011
  38. ^ "Kosovo's parliament passes resolution backing talks with Serbia" monstersandcritics.com 10 March 2011 Link retrieved 10 March 2011
  39. ^ "Dialogue chance for Kosovo compromise" Archived 10 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine. b92.net 9 March 2011 Link retrieved 10 March 2011
  40. ^ "Belgrade: Status is up for discussion" Archived 4 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. b92.net 12 March 2011 Link retrieved 13 March 2011
  41. ^ "U.S. "disappointed" with Serbia's decision". b92.net. Archived from the original on 17 March 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
1991 Kosovan independence referendum

An independence referendum was held in Kosovo, then known as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija between 26 and 30 September 1991. The dissolved Provincial Assembly had declared the Republic of Kosova a sovereign and independent state on 22 September 1991. Over 99% of voters voted in favour of independence, with a turnout of 87%. The referendum was boycotted by Serbs living in the region, who comprised around 10% of the population.

2004 Kosovan parliamentary election

Parliamentary elections were held in Kosovo on 24 October 2004.

2007 Kosovan local elections

Municipal elections were held in Kosovo on November 17, 2007, at the same time as elections to the Assembly of Kosovo, with a second round for the mayoral elections held on 2007-12-08. The date was originally set for September 1, 2007 by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Joachim Rücker (head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo).The elections were held in Kosovo's thirty municipalities, and for the first time, local mayors were directly elected.Joachim Rücker decided not to officially recognise the election results in mainly Serb-populated municipalities where Albanians were elected due to the Serb election boycott.

2009 Kosovan local elections

Local elections were held in Kosovo on 15 November and 13 December 2009. These were the first local elections to be held after Kosovo declared independence in February 2008. The elections were to elect mayors and municipal councils in 36 municipalities, and were contested by 37 ethnic Albanian parties and 21 Serbian lists. All citizens with a valid ID were able to vote in the elections.Pieter Feith, the European Union Special Representative in Kosovo, declared before the election that he expected the elections to "pass the democratic test".

The elections were still unfinished two months after starting. Many cities recounted votes or ordered fresh voting.

Prizren and Lipljan held their elections on 31 January 2009.

2011 Kosovan presidential election

Indirect presidential elections were held in Kosovo on 22 February 2011.

2016 Kosovan presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Kosovo on 26 February 2016. At first, they were planned to be held in 2013 following constitutional changes expected to be passed after the compromise reached after the indirect 2011 presidential elections. However, on 6 July 2012, the Constitutional Court ruled that the presidential term could not be cut short in this way.Former Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi was elected after a third round of voting.

The Constitutional Court found no irregularities in the election.

Accession of Kosovo to the European Union

Accession of Kosovo to the European Union (EU) is on the current agenda for future enlargement of the EU and Kosovo is recognized by the EU as a potential candidate for accession. Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia was enacted on 17 February 2008 by a vote of members of the Assembly of Kosovo. Independence has not been recognised by Serbia, or five out of 28 EU member states, and as a result the European Union itself refers only to "Kosovo*", with an asterisked footnote containing the text agreed to by the Belgrade–Pristina negotiations: "This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence." This has not prevented Kosovo from continuing its EU enacted Stabilisation Tracking Mechanism (STM) programme, aiming to gradually integrate its national policies on legal, economic and social matters with EU, so that at some point in the future they could qualify for EU membership.

To ensure stability at the territory and neutral rule of law enforcement, the EU is operating in Kosovo under the umbrella of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), deploying police and civilian resources under the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX).

The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Kosovo was signed on 26 February 2016 and went into force on 1 April 2016.On 6 February 2018, the European Commission published its expansion plan to cover up to six Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The plan envisages that all six applicants could achieve accession as members of the European Union after 2025.

Ashkali Party for Integration

The Ashkali Party for Integration (Albanian: Partia Ashkalinjëve për Integrim, PAI) is an Ashkali political party in Kosovo.

Borko Stefanović

Borko Stefanović (born 5 February 1974, born as Borislav Stefanović) is the founder of political party Levica Srbije. Prior to founding Levica Srbije, he was active in the Democratic Party in Serbia, with whom he engaged in a high-profile split in the summer of 2015. He was one of Serbia's representatives during the Belgrade-Pristina negotiations. He was the Political Director of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Chief of Staff for Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić.

Civic Alliance of Kosovo

The Civic Alliance of Kosovo (Aleanca Qytetare e Kosovës) is a political party in Kosovo. At the last legislative elections on 24 October 2004, the party was part of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.

Coalition for Gora

The Coalition for Gora (Serbian: Koalicija za Gora, KzG) is a Gorani political party in Kosovo led by Adem Hodža.

Kosovar New Romani Party

The Kosovar New Romani Party (Albanian: Kosovaki Nevi Romani Partia, KNRP) is a political party in Kosovo representing the Romani community.

List of Presidents of the Assembly of Kosovo

The President of the Assembly of Kosovo was the presiding officer of the provincial legislature 1945 - 1990.

New Democratic Initiative of Kosovo

The New Democratic Initiative of Kosovo (Albanian: Iniciativa e re Demokrarike e Kosovës) is a political party in Kosovo. It represents the Egyptian ethnic minority.

At the legislative elections, October 24, 2004 the party won 0.4 percent of the popular vote and two out of 120 seats.

Progressive Democratic Party (Kosovo)

The Progressive Democratic Party (Serbian: Progresivna Demokratska Stranka) is a Serb political party in Kosovo led by Nenad Rašić.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo (SRSG) is appointed by the Secretary-General to lead the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The Joint Interim Administrative Structure and then the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government held their authority under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, reporting to the Special Representative.

Table Tennis Federation of Kosovo

The Table Tennis Federation of Kosovo (TTFK) (Albanian: Federata e Pingpongut tė Kosovės, Serbian: Стонотениски савез Косова / Stonoteniski savez Kosova) is the governing body responsible for table tennis in Kosovo.

The TTFK is one of the few Kosovo sports federations recognized by its sport's governing body, in this case the International Table Tennis Federation in 2003. [1]

Television in Kosovo

Television in Kosovo was first introduced in 1974.

The Alternative (Kosovo)

The Alternative (Albanian: Alternativa) is a liberal political party in Kosovo.

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