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Belgrade seeks autonomy for Kosovo's Serb minority

09 January 2013, 17:34 CET
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(BELGRADE) - Serbia will ask for "autonomy" for its Serb minority in breakaway Kosovo as part of EU-backed talks with Pristina, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said Wednesday.

Dacic's government adopted on Wednesday two documents -- a draft resolution and a platform -- that it wants to serve as a basis for future talks, he said.

"This is the first time that there is a proposal for the Serb community and (its) autonomy in Kosovo," Dacic told reporters here.

"This is our proposal how to organise Serb community in Kosovo with certain authorities that we think should exist," he said, without revealing the details of the proposal.

"It is not our goal to break up Kosovo... We expect this (proposal) could be acceptable, since we need results, and not goals that would do unheeded," he said.

Kosovo in 2008 declared itself an independent state, a move rejected by Serbia and Serbs in Kosovo but which was recognised by much of the international community.

Improvement in relations between Belgrade and Pristina is a key condition Brussels has set for Serbia, which gained the status of EU candidate last March, to obtain a date to begin entry talks with the European Union.

The two delegations are expected to meet for further talks in Brussels in mid-January.

The Serbian autonomy resolution is to be debated and in principle adopted by parliament on Saturday, but the "platform and the tactics" for the negotiators will not be made public, Dacic said.

The resolution is based on a document drawn up last month by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic that called for a "high degree of territorial and political autonomy" modelled on Spain's Catalan region for Kosovo's Serb minority.

According to Beta news agency, that document calls for autonomy for four municipalities in tense northern Kosovo -- where some 40,000 minority Serbs live -- as well as to the enclaves scattered throughout the territory, home to a remaining 80,000 Serbs.

However Dacic said that "some elements" of the document have been changed, without revealing further details.

"What is important is that we want the dialogue to continue," Dacic said.

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