Turkey hails ‘historic’ Serbia-Kosovo deal
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (C) poses with Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dacic (L) and Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, at NATO headquarters in Brussels April 19. REUTERS photoTurkey's Foreign Ministry has hailed the agreement reached by Serbia and Kosovo on April 19, in a statement that described it “as a historic deal that will contribute peace and stability in the Balkans region.”
“We congratulate the Serbian and Kosovar leaders that carried through this difficult negotiation process with courage and determination,” the statement issued on April 20 read.
The agreement, mediated by the European Union, tackles the ethnic partition of Serbia’s seceded province between its Albanian majority and a small Belgrade-backed pocket of around 50,000 Serbs in the north. With this move, Serbia hopes to win the green light on April 22 from the EU's 27 members for the start of talks on Serbian accession to the bloc.
The deal consolidates the European vocation of Serbia and its former province, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. “This agreement, which will open a blank sheet in relations between Serbia and Kosovo, is an opportunity not to be missed for building a common future in the Balkans,” the statement read, calling on both sides to implement its provisions quickly.
An excerpt of the deal seen by Reuters said that Serbia and Kosovo had agreed not to block each other's EU accession. "It is agreed that neither side will block or encourage others to block the other side's progress in their respective EU paths," point 14 of the accord states, according to Reuters.