Serbia ready to sign deals with Kosovo "in 30-40 days," Tadic says
Serbia could sign technical deals with Kosovo within the next "30-40 days," President Boris Tadic said in Brussels on Tuesday - showing readiness to fulfil another European Union request following the arrest of suspected war criminal Ratko Mladic, DPA reported.
Serbia is under pressure from the European Union, which is brokering talks between Belgrade and Pristina, to normalize relations as much as possible with its former province, the independence of which Belgrade refuses to recognize.
"It is not very easy to achieve progress immediately, but ... I am expecting delivery in some fields, not tomorrow but maybe in the next 30-40 days," Tadic said at a conference organized by the European Policy Centre, a think tank.
Four rounds have been held since the so-called Serbia-Kosovo "dialogue" was launched in March, and one more is expected to take place next week. EU diplomats say there are "five or six" deals on the table which are awaiting Serbia's signature.
"We expect concrete deals in the dialogue before the summer break, and that message has been passed on to Belgrade," one EU source told the German Press Agency dpa.
The agreements would be on matters of practical cooperation - such as allowing Kosovan goods through Serbian customs - and would skirt the controversy over Kosovo's independence, which five EU countries, like Serbia, do not recognize.
"We have to do something for ordinary people ... we don't have an interest in blocking exports of goods, we don't have an interest in blocking representatives of Kosovo Albanians in regional fora (but) Serbia is not going to recognize Kosovo independence explicitly or implicitly," Tadic said.