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UNMIK Headlines 20 April

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• Kosovo and Serbia reach agreement on the north (dailies)
• International leaders hail Kosovo-Serbia agreement (dailies)
• President Jahjaga welcomes agreement (dailies)
• Parts of agreement not in harmony to Kosovo’s legal basis (Koha Ditore)
• Kosovo-Serbia agreement, positive for KSF (Zëri)
• Kosovo opposition voices concern about the reached agreement (dailies)

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Headlines – 20.04.2013

Kosovo and Serbia reach agreement on the north (dailies)

The tenth round of talks between prime ministers of Kosovo and Serbia, Hashim Thaçi and Ivica Dacic respectively, finally resulted in an agreement aimed at normalizing relations between the two countries.

The news that a deal was reached was announced by the facilitator of the dialogue, EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Catherine Ashton who heralded the end of negotiations and congratulating the prime ministers for their commitment in the process. “I want to congratulate them for their determination over these months and for the courage that they have. It is very important that now what we are seeing is a step away from the past and, for both of them, a step closer to Europe”, Ashton said in a statement to the media.

Prime ministers Thaçi and Dacic however came out with different interpretations of what they agreed to in Brussels, notes Koha Ditore. The paper also writes that Kosovo has managed to ensure that the police and the courts in the north, though consisting of local Serbs, will be part of the Kosovo unified legal system while Serbia has managed to take out of the agreement’s text the phrase that spoke about not blocking Kosovo’s membership in international organizations.

Calling the agreement historic, Thaçi said that it represents de jure Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo. “We have just signed the first historic agreement between the state of Kosovo and Serbia under the guarantees of Baroness Ashton. This agreement has been initialed by the prime ministers of the two countries under the guarantees of Baroness Ashton”, said Thaçi. He added that the agreement provides the basis for normalizing relations between the two countries and that it has not been easy. “However, we managed to narrow down our differences and move towards a reconciliation, understanding, and reach an agreement”, he said. PM Thaçi noted that he is aware that there will be people both in Kosovo and in Serbia that will oppose the deal but expressed assurances that this is the best possible solution for Kosovo, Serbia and the region.

Serbian PM Dacic on his part said that the agreement has incorporated Serbia’s requests and that several points of the proposal have been amended to reflect these demands. “The community will be based in north Mitrovica, it will have its property, bank account, assembly, president, deputy president and the council, just like a type of a government. It will have full supervision and executive authority when it comes to education, health, culture and spatial planning”, said Dacic.

International leaders hail Kosovo-Serbia agreement (dailies)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also hailed a “landmark” agreement which and commended the leaders for their commitment saying he hoped the agreement would bring about a brighter future and lasting stability to the region. “We encourage the two sides to conclude this historic process and take concrete measures for a faithful implementation of the agreement”, said SG Ban in a statement.

US Secretary of State John Kerry commended Kosovo and Serbia saying that the agreement called for compromise and political courage from both sides. “I encourage both countries now to implement expeditiously and fully all dialogue agreements reached to date, so that all of those living in Kosovo and Serbia can continue to build a more peaceful and prosperous future”, said Secretary Kerry in a statement.

EU leaders including President of European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the President of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele all hailed the agreement between Kosovo and Serbia and commended the prime ministers for their courage. They all stressed that the agreement opens a new chapter towards European future for Kosovo and Serbia.

The agreement was also welcomed by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He reiterated the Alliance’s readiness to play its role in the implementation of the agreement. “I congratulate all parties for their constructive approach to finding a lasting solution in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina” said Rasmussen adding that the process was long and had its own share of difficulties but ultimately resulted in success.

President Jahjaga welcomes agreement (dailies)

President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga issued a statement upon conclusion of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue which resulted in an agreement for normalizing relations. Jahjaga said the agreement helps in establishment of cooperation between the two countries and in relaxing relations. Jahjaga, currently on a visit to the UK, spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi and commended him for his commitment in successful conclusion of a chapter in relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

Parts of agreement not in harmony to Kosovo’s legal basis (Koha Ditore)

The paper reports that at least three Kosovo legal acts are in conflict to the agreement just signed by Kosovo and Serbia prime ministers. These include the law on police, that on courts and the law on local self-government. The creation of a branch of the Appeals Court set to be seated in north Mitrovica, according to the paper, is in contradiction to the law on courts as is the role granted to four northern municipalities for proposing a regional police commander for the north. In addition, the authority of supervisory institution given to the association of municipalities with Serb majority is in conflict to the law on local self-government.

Kosovo-Serbia agreement, positive for KSF (Zëri)

Kosovo Security Force Minister Agim Çeku said the agreement reached in Brussels will create conditions for countries that have not recognized Kosovo not to become obstacles in NATO when the Alliance is set to take decisions on the future of the KSF. “I think the agreement will create a positive climate for the countries that have not recognized Kosovo”, said Çeku.

Kosovo opposition voices concern about the reached agreement (dailies)

Opposition parties in Kosovo, except Alliance for Future of Kosovo (AAK), criticized the agreement reached between Kosovo and Serbia yesterday. Vjosa Osmani from Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) expressed concern over the real text content of the agreement saying the current version is “mysterious”. “I hope this is not the agreement because it does not include the disbanding of parallel structures and embodies executive competencies for association of municipalities with Serb majority”, she said.

Vetëvendosje also opposed the agreement. Deputy leader Shpend Ahmeti said they are concerned with its content. “We knew the epilogue will not be good but it turned out to be even worse than we anticipated because not even the minimum of interests has been met”, he said. Ahmeti warned that the implementation of the agreement will create a new Bosnia in Kosovo split along ethnic lines.

Meanwhile, Alliance for Future of Kosovo (AAK) has come out in support of the Kosovo-Serbia agreement. The party said it hoped the agreement will create a possibility for establishing rule of law in the north as well as stretching of Kosovo’s legal authority there.

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