Serbia, Kosovo to Continue Talks September 2

Posted August 16th, 2011 at 10:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic says the next round of talks between Serbia and Kosovo will take place September 2 in Brussels.

The Belgrade-Pristina talks mandated by the European Union began in March, but stalled last month after Kosovo imposed a ban on imports from Serbia and sent its troops to take control of two border crossings with Serbia in an effort to enforce the ban. Ethnic Serbs in Northern Kosovo attacked the posts and NATO troops stepped in to restore order.

Belgrade does not recognize Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence and has protested Pristina's use of its own customs stamps.

Serbia demands that Kosovo's stamps must not contain any attributes of statehood. The issue is expected to be discussed at the meeting in Brussels.

Djelic said Belgrade will make every effort to reach an agreement with Pristina regarding the stamps and Kosovo's representation in international bodies. But he said Belgrade will not consent to any deal that violates Serbia's policy.

Ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo, who do not recognize the government Pristina, on Tuesday protested the building of a bridge over the River Sitnica, citing security concerns. The bridge would connect the Serb community with villages populated by ethnic Albanians.

The commander of NATO forces in Kosovo, Erhard Buehler, told them he cannot prevent the construction, but he can provide security at the bridge.