News / Europe

Kosovo Talks End Without Result

Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (R) talks to the media as he arrives for a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic (unseen) and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (unseen) in Brussels, April 2, 2013.
Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (R) talks to the media as he arrives for a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic (unseen) and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (unseen) in Brussels, April 2, 2013.
Reuters
Crunch talks aimed at ending the ethnic partition of Serbia's former Kosovo province broke up without result on Wednesday, in a major setback for Serbia's hopes of starting European Union membership negotiations this year.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who has been mediating months of talks between Serbia and Kosovo, said the gap between the two sides was "very narrow, but deep" after a marathon 12-hour session.

Ashton said the Brussels meeting, the eighth between the prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo, was the last time all sides would meet formally with EU mediation. The talks have been aimed at "normalizing ties" five years after Kosovo declared independence with the backing of the West.

"They will now both go back and consult with their colleagues in their capitals and will let me know in the next few days of their decision," Ashton said in a statement, leaving open the slim chance a deal might still be reached.

Ashton will issue a progress report in mid-April, which will form the basis of an EU decision in June whether to launch membership talks with Serbia - a crucial stimulus for reform and signal of stability for investors looking to the biggest economy in the former Yugoslavia.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after NATO went to war to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians during a brutal Serbian counter-insurgency campaign in what was then a Serbian province.

Serbia does not recognize the secession, but is under pressure from the West to establish functional relations with Kosovo and loosen its grip on a northern, Serb-populated pocket of the young country.

The de facto ethnic partition between Kosovo's Albanian majority and the ethnic Serb north has been at the heart of the Brussels dialogue and stands in the way of Serbia's further progress towards EU membership.

Both Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his Kosovo counterpart, former guerrilla commander Hashim Thaci, said there was still time left.

"This isn't the end; there will be more talks in Belgrade," Dacic told reporters. "We have some more time to reach a solution and to gather our thoughts after these long talks."

Thaci mooted the possibility of another meeting next week, "if Serbia accepts the principles," although he did not elaborate where the talks might take place or under whose auspices.

"We hope they will use the time in the coming days for sincere reflection," Thaci told reporters. "I remain hopeful an agreement can be reached."

In a major concession as it seeks the economic boost of closer EU ties, Serbia has offered to recognize the authority of the Kosovo government over the Serb-populated north, but it wants autonomy for the 50,000 Serbs living there.

Dacic and Thaci are at odds over the powers the Serb north should wield, particularly whether it would have its own judicial system and police.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs