Despite differences, Pristina and Belgrade to discuss technical issues

08:53, February 28, 2011      

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Despite intractable positions regarding the status of Kosovo, representatives from Pristina and Belgrade could begin a long-awaited dialogue moderated by the European Union in Brussels by as early as next week, reported the Serbian news agency Tanjug on Sunday.

Borko Stefanovic, head of Serbia's negotiating team, said representatives of Serbia and Kosovo, its breakaway province that unilaterally declared independence in 2008, would initially tackle so-called "technical" issues such as identifying the remains of missing persons, mobile phone operators, electricity, etc.

"In the initial stage, we will open a number of issues related to the lives of people," said Stefanovic.

Stefanovic said all the conditions for such a meeting had been met and that Serbian officials had been waiting for the formation of a negotiating team from Kosovo after recent elections.

On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Edita Tahiri was appointed to lead the Kosovo delegation.

While the Kosovo team insists talks between Belgrade and Pristina are between sovereign states, Serbia considers the final status of Kosovo unresolved, and has managed to exercise considerably influence in the north of the province, where Serbs representing a majority continue to resist any integration into Kosovo institutions.

According Stefanovic, the talks are aimed at resolving problems and not intended to produce winners or losers.

Working in the background, Robert Cooper of the EU's External Action Service has conducted a series of behind the scenes meetings first in Belgrade and then in Pristina. Officially, the meetings were described as technical in nature with no disclosure of the discussions, reported the Serbian daily Politika.

Source: Xinhua

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