Bloomberg News

Serbia Says Kosovo Talks Must Go On Even If No Deal Today

April 02, 2013

Talks between Serbia and Kosovo on normalizing ties must carry on even if an accord isn’t reached today on Serb-dominated areas of the former breakaway province, the Serbian government’s spokesman said.

“Ending the dialog could lead to new incidents” and the mediators should be aware there’s a need for a just solution that can lead to lasting peace,’’ Milivoje Mihajlovic told the broadcaster B92 in Belgrade today.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovo Premier Hashim Thaci will meet today in Brussels for another round of European Union-sponsored talks. The EU wants the two sides, at loggerheads since the wars of the 1990s, to reach a political settlement and move ahead with steps toward EU entry.

Serbia wants Thaci to grant Serbs in the north of Kosovo decision-making rights on police and judiciary and to pledge to keep the Kosovo army out of Serbian communities. Authorities in Kosovo don’t want to grant those concessions as “that would be seen as a loss of some imaginary control, but they would get peace in return,” Mihajlovic said.

The Brussels talks come as Serbia sold 10 billion dinars ($115 million) in two-year coupon bonds today, with the yield dropping 56 basis points amid strong demand. Dacic’s nine-month old Cabinet has enjoyed declining borrowing costs amid optimism about the global economic recovery, while extra liquidity from central banks push investors to higher-yielding assets.

Markets Gain

The main stock market index of the 15 most-actively traded assets gained 0.3 percent to 580.12 points by 1:01 p.m. in Belgrade. The dinar weakened 0.2 percent against the euro to trade at 111.5982 at 1:10 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Serbia’s struggling to get a date for the start of EU entry talks in June, while Kosovo is line for a Stabilization and Association Agreement, the first formal step toward membership in the 27-nation bloc. Both need deeper economic EU ties after the 1990s civil wars stunted the region’s transition from communism.

“Two-thirds of the population live on 80 cents a day” in Kosovo, Mihajlovic said. “Someone needs to invest there and pay for the survival of those people.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at gfilipovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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