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15. 07.2011. / AKI

Kosovo parliament late on Thursday rejected a call to end European Union sponsored talks with Serbia, which three main opposition parties described as harming Kosovo’s sovereignty and independence.

After a seven-hour stormy debate, the parliament rejected the opposition proposal with 46 votes against, 37 in favour and two abstentions.

Kosovo majority Albanians declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, which Belgrade opposes, but the two sides agreed to EU-sponsored talks on resolving problems which would make the lives of ordinary citizens of both nationalities easier.

After several rounds of talks in Brussels, Belgrade and Pristina reached an agreement on freedom of travel, recognition of university diplomas and exchange of land and birth registries, but nothing was put in writing and details were not revealed.

Ismet Beciri, the head of parliamentary group of the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo, told parliament “the talks were nor adequately prepared and have unforeseeable consequences for Kosovo”.

“The parliament hasn’t been informed on what kind of agreement has been reached, or whether it was an agreement of just conclusions,” he said.

Beciri insisted that any agreement should be verified by the parliament and should in no way jeopardise Kosovo's independence, whch has been recognised by 76 countries, including the US and 22 out of 27 EU members.

He said the conditions had concurred to “break up the talks until a platform approved by two thirds of parliamentary votes was defined”.

Visar Imeri of opposition party Vetevendosje (Self-determination) said Kosovo was “just an observer” in ongoing talks and accused the government of concealing the facts.

Ardijan Djini of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo said the agreements reached were “turning Kosovo backwards” and were “opening more doors for Serbia in Kosovo”.

But Prime Minister Hashim Thaci told the parliament that dialogue with Belgrade enjoyed a “strong support from the US and the EU and no one has the right to run away from the problems which burden ordinary citizens”.

“The demand to end the talks is a recipe for Kosovo isolation and confrontation with the United States and the European Union,” Thaci said.

Similarly, Serbian pro-European government, headed by president Boris Tadic, has been accused by the opposition of betraying Serbia’s national interests and of looking for ways of tacitly recognising Kosovo for the sake of EU membership.

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