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Dialogue between Kosovo, Serbia should resume with no relation to tariffs – Haradinaj

Dialogue between Kosovo, Serbia should resume with no relation to tariffs – Haradinaj Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, Photo:Infrakos/All Rights Reserved

PRISTINA (Kosovo), March 13 (SeeNews) – Kosovo's prime minister Ramush Haradinaj said on Wednesday that dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia can and should resume without relation to the tariffs on imports from Serbia and Bosnia.

“Lack of transparency, encouraging a land swap proposal and failure to implement existing agreements - those are the reasons [for the failure of the dialogue],” Haradinaj said in a Twitter post. He added that dialogue was derailed long before the new import tariffs were introduced.

A day earlier, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that Kosovo should revoke the recent tariffs on imports from Serbia and Bosnia in order to have a full-fledged resumption of the talks with Serbia.

“The day the tariffs are revoked, I will immediately call a new meeting of the dialogue – to reach a legally binding agreement, which should address all outstanding issues and fully normalise relations between Pristina and Belgrade,” Mogherini said during her speech at the United Nations’ security council in New York.

She stressed that a final agreement will need to be in line with international law, and will have to be supported by the UN Security Council. “Your role is and will be key, and we are ready - I’m personally ready - to intensify our exchanges with all members of the United Nations Security Council on this,” she noted.

Serbia's exports to Kosovo were completely suspended as of December 31, following a decision by the government in Pristina to increase import tariffs on all goods produced in Serbia and Bosnia to 100%. Kosovo's decision has resulted in direct damages estimated at 46.1 million euro ($52.1 million) for the Serbian economy between November 21 and December 31, Serbian trade minister Rasim Ljajic has said.

On November 21, Kosovo's government decided to increase the import tax on all goods produced in Serbia and Bosnia to 100% from 10% set earlier that month, saying the move aimed to protect Kosovo’s sovereignty and interests. The scope of the tax was expanded on December 29 to include products manufactured under international brands in Serbia and Bosnia.

Serbia and Bosnia both do not recognise the independence of Kosovo, the former southern province of Serbia populated predominantly by ethnic Albanians.

Kosovo, considered to be a potential candidate for EU membership by the European Commission, unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has so far has been recognised by more than half of the 193 UN member states.

($ = 0.884534 euro)