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Kosovo and Serbia to hold first face-to-face talks

Kosovo and Serbia to hold first face-to-face talks
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For the first time since Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, the two sides are to hold direct talks.

Under EU mediation, they will try to untangle several practical issues crucial to landlocked Kosovo’s daily existence.

Serbia’s chief negotiator in Serbia-Kosovo talks, Borko Stefanovic, said there were no timeframes. “We will try to resolve some key issues between us by the year’s end and we are optimists, though miracles should not be expected,” he said.

Even though Kosovo’s independence is not up for discussion the province’s opposition party chief, Albin Kurti said he was against the talks.

“The will of the people should not be negotiated. Serbia has a criminal past in Kosovo, has a criminal presence in Kosovo due to parallel structures and also has anti-Albanian political plans.”

A bombing campaign by NATO in 1999 effectively lost Serbia control of Kosovo. The military intervention halted the killing of ethnic Albanians by Serbs in a brutal Kosovan counter-insurgency war.