News / Europe

Bidding for EU Talks, Serbia Swaps Envoys with Kosovo

Reuters
Serbia and its former province of Kosovo exchanged envoys on Monday for the first time since a 1998-99 war, a step loaded with symbolism for the Balkan neighbors as the European Union considers whether to set Belgrade on the path to membership.

Dubbed liaison officers, the officials will help with the implementation of a landmark accord brokered by the EU to improve ties between the two countries, five years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia with the backing of the West.

Serbia does not recognize Kosovo and they have no diplomatic relations, but the EU says they must “normalize ties” if they are to eventually follow in the footsteps of ex-Yugoslav Croatia, which becomes the bloc's 28th member on July 1.

The officials both took up their posts, based in the offices of the EU in Belgrade and Pristina, at midday, with little pomp or fanfare.

“I am not an ambassador,” Serbia's Dejan Pavicevic told reporters in the Kosovo capital. “We're not talking about the full normalization between two countries but maybe between two nations.”

Kosovo envoy Lulzim Peci, a former Kosovo ambassador to Sweden, said he expected “open and positive cooperation” with Serbia.

“This mission in Belgrade is like any diplomatic mission of the Republic of Kosovo and as the chief of this mission I represent the government of Kosovo and also all the communities that live in Kosovo,” he told Reuters Television on Sunday.

Neither will have diplomatic immunity but they will have police protection.

The exchange of envoys is hugely symbolic for Serbia as the largest country carved from federal Yugoslavia chases the economic boost of EU accession talks.

The bloc will decide at the end of June whether to set a date for talks to begin, possibly later in the year or early 2014, or to postpone amid concern over apparent foot-dragging in the implementation of the Kosovo accord brokered in April.

Under the agreement, Serbia is to cede its de facto control over a northern slice of Kosovo where some 50,000 minority Serbs reject the former province's 2008 declaration of independence.

Kosovo is a locus of myth and legend for many Serbs, considered by many as the cradle of their nation and the Serbian Orthodox faith.

But 90 percent of its 1.7 million people are Albanians. Kosovo broke away in 1999, when NATO bombed for 11 weeks to halt the killing and expulsion of Albanians by Serbian forces under late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Around 100 countries have recognized the country as independent, including the United States and 22 of the EU's 27 members. It is still patrolled by some 6,000 NATO peacekeepers.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid