[QODLink]
Europe

Serbia-Kosovo talks end without accord

EU-mediated talks over the status of Serb-dominated northern Kosovo fail to reach a deal.

Last Modified: 02 Apr 2013 23:45
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Leaders from Serbia and Kosovo have failed to come to agreement on the status of Serb-dominated northern Kosovo in talks held in Brussels.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who had been mediating in the talks, said in a statement that the gap between the two sides was "very narrow, but deep."

She said the 12-hour negotiating session in Brussels on Tuesday was the last time all sides would meet formally for the EU-brokered talks.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci would return home to consult colleagues and decide on future steps, she said.

Kosovo, a former Serbian province, declared independence in 2008. While many countries have recognised it as an independent country, Serbia has not.

Serbian 'hesitation'

Thaci said Kosovo had put forward proposals in line with its laws and constitution - proposals that he said would have integrated all citizens, including ethnic Serbs, into the life of Kosovo.

But he said the proposals were met with "hesitation" on the Serbian side. He said the Serbian officials had decided to "reflect" and he still hoped an agreement could be reached next week.

Kosovo fears that a large degree of autonomy for the north runs the risk the area would eventually break away.

The ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo, up to 50,000 people in and around the divided city of Mitrovica, have rejected the authority of the government in Pristina, the Kosovan capital.

They have created so-called parallel institutions, including hospitals and schools, all financed and supported from the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

However, in order for Serbia to join the EU it must normalise relations with Kosovo.

That includes not only resolving issues such as trade and border control, but also resolving the status of northern Kosovo, and whether it falls under the authority of the government in Pristina.

303

Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.