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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs