The issue of the Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM) has not been on the agenda of the Thursday’s meeting between Belgrade and Pristina technical negotiations in Brussels after Serbia’s delegation insisted on the issue, while Kosovo’s team strongly opposed the idea.
The head of Serbia’s Government Office for Kosovo Marko Djuric said that after the talks about mutual financial claims and property, Belgrade’s delegation “did not agree to remove the CSM topic from the agenda” or “renamed it in a way that would not reflect a status-neutral form of dialogue.” However, he added, Pristina was firmly against mentioning CSM as Belgrade wanted it.
“No way we will allow the talks on CSM to switch to the position of national minorities’ topic, nor will we ever agree that Kosovo Serbs are treated as a national minority,” Djuric told reporters in Brussels.He said the negotiations were “very intensive and difficult”.
“We had a bitter discussion. Pristina delegation tried to take the discussion 13 centuries back to say the Serbs had colonised Kosovo,” Djuric added.
Skender Hyseni, who led Kosovo delegation, told the Pristina media that Serbia’s team tried to open the CSM but that he “categorically refused”.
Ahead of the talks, Djuric and the European Union Special Representative for the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajčák exchange tweets, expressing different ideas about the Thursday’s meeting, with Lajčak saying the CSM issue was not on the table and Djuric assuring him it would be.
“But one fact must be remembered. We have two agreements on CSM signed in 2013 and 2015. In the latter, the court commented on 21 or 22 specific issues and did not say that CSM should not be implemented “, Hyseni said.
He added it was now about the CSM statute, saying Pristina would take an exact political position on that issue.
The mutual financial claims were discussed, Hyseni said, adding that was one of the elements of the general agreement on mutual recognition. However, as he confirmed, the parties had opposed views about it.
“The views on this topic are very different. We see the issue of succession as one which must be treated following international law and the successions that took place between the entities of former Yugoslavia, now independent states,” Hyseni said, reiterating that was Kosovo’s position.
Lajčák said the talks at the expert level referred to mutual financial claims and property, and that they showed the complexity and sensitivity of those issues.
“I have just finished today’s talks with Marko Djuric and Skender Hyseni on mutual financial claims and property. Our talks confirmed the complexity and sensitivity of the issue,” Lajčák wrote on his Twitter account. Just finished today’s talks with the chief negotiators @markodjuric and Skender Hyseni on mutual financial claims and property. Our discussions confirmed the complexity and sensitivity of the issue. To be continued.