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

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs