Serbia Denies Kosovo Officers are ‘Ambassadors’

As Serbia and Kosovo get ready to appoint liaison officers, Belgrade dismisses claims that Kosovo’s officials are de facto ‘ambassadors’ to Serbia.Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic has dismissed Kosovo’s claims, that it is appointing an “ambassador” to Serbia.

“Belgrade and Pristina will exchange liaison officers who do not enjoy the status of diplomats,” Dacic told reporters on Tuesday, rubbishing Kosovo’s interpretation of the arrangement as ludicrous.

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj on Monday said that he and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci will shortly propose the names of three diplomats one of who will have the status of Kosovo’s “Ambassador in Belgrade”.

Hoxhaj said the chosen diplomats will either have a special office of their own, or work out an office within an international organization, such as the EU.

The agreement to appoint liaison officers was made in Brussels on December 4 during the course of a third meeting of Dacic and Thaci.

Under the deal, the officers will be in charge of monitoring implementation of a controversial border agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.

The Serbian liaison officer will be working out of an EU office in Pristina by the end of the month, Balkan Insight has learned.

“The person will serve as logistical support to the Serbian negotiating team in the [EU-led] dialogue with Pristina,” officials in Belgrade said.

The appointment of the liaison officers will be the second major step forward in Serbia-Kosovo relations. The first one happened on Monday when Belgrade and Pristina started implementing the Integrated Border Management, IBM, agreement at two border crossings.

According to the IBM deal, Kosovo and Serbian customs and police officers are under one roof on the border crossings.

EU-led talks between Belgrade and Pristina started in March 2011, three years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.

So far, the two sides have reached deals on the freedom of movement, university diplomas, representation at regional fora and on trade. Not all the deals have been implemented, however.

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