Coming up

Don't miss




Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more


Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more


Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more


Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more


Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more


French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more


Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more


Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Air Algérie crash site located, France sending military unit

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more


Kosovo talks stall over future of Serb minority

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-04-03

Serbia and Kosovo failed to strike a deal on defusing tensions at a last round of EU-backed talks Wednesday in Brussels. A main point of contention remains the future of the Serb minority in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.

Serbia and Kosovo failed Wednesday to find common ground on how to defuse longstanding tensions at marathon EU-sponsored talks, but the door appeared still open for further discussions, officials said.

The latest round of talks in Brussels -- the eighth and last, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said afterwards -- was aimed at normalising relations between Serbia and breakaway Kosovo, paving the way to eventual EU membership.

But after more than 12 hours of talks, the two sides left without striking any deal.

"The gap between the two sides is very narrow but deep," Ashton, who chaired the talks, said in a statement.

"This is the last time we will meet formally," she added, saying "a number of proposals were put on the table."

Serb Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaci will now return home for consultations "and will let me know in the next few days of their decision."

Ashton gave no details of the proposals discussed and did not explain what decision she expected from the two sides.

"I wish them a good journey home and every possible success in reaching a conclusion," she said in her brief statement.

Serbia's Dacic said separately that despite the lengthy meeting, "we do not have an agreement at this moment."

Holding out the prospect of further exchanges, however, Dacic told Serb media: "We still have a certain amount of time ahead to reach the solution."

According to the website of Serbian state broadcaster RTS, Kosovo Premier Thaci said it would be "possible to continue talks next week if Serbia agrees with our principles."

It was not immediately clear if he expected these to be under EU auspices, while Ashton's remarks suggested that no formal meeting in Brussels is envisaged.

The main sticking point in the talks, which got under way late last year, has been the future of the Serb minority living in Kosovo, especially the north, since it declared independence in 2008.

Majority ethnic Albanian Kosovo has since then won recognition from around 100 countries, including the United States and most EU member states.

Serbia and Serbs living in Kosovo continue to reject Pristina's declaration of independence, with the focus on the some 40,000 Serbs in the north.

Both sides earlier agreed to establish an association of Serb municipalities, but Kosovo refuses to grant it the executive and judicial powers demanded by Serbia.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Monday said recent statements from Kosovo were "not encouraging".

"We must ensure the rights (for the association) are guaranteed not only by an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, but also by the international community, primarily through the EU in its role as a mediator," Nikolic said.

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

Progress at the talks had been seen as essential to keeping the momentum going, with Ashton saying Monday she expected them to be "conclusive".

Washington meanwhile stressed the importance for Kosovo and Serbia to "move forward both in democratic terms, in economic terms and on their path for European integration."

The European Commission is due to issue a report on the negotiations on April 16, which will be forwarded to EU leaders for consideration at their end-June summit.

Serbia was hoping that once a deal was agreed, it would be given a date to start EU accession talks at the summit in June, while the European Commission has said Kosovo could get an agreement on an association accord at the same time.



Date created : 2013-04-03


    Kosovo's former prime minister cleared of war crimes

    Read more

  • Kosovo

    West ends supervised independence of Kosovo

    Read more


    Kosovo Serbs defy EU and Serbia in referendum

    Read more