BELGRADE — Belgrade team head Borislav Stefanović has denied claims that Serbia has recognized Kosovo’s statehood attributes by signing the agreement on customs stamps.
He has admitted that the agreement only makes the stamp that the Kosovo authorities have been using so far official, but also added that Priština had much more ambitious plans.
The Belgrade team chief has confirmed that the atmosphere during the talks in Brussels had been difficult and tense.
“It manifested itself through a negative position of Priština’s delegation on progress regarding electric energy, Telekom and university diplomas which has been made so far. Due to public pressure in Priština Mrs. Tahiri obviously had a big problem talking to me adequately about the events in northern Kosovo and Metohija and our role there,” Stefanović told daily Politika.
He once again pointed out that the agreement on customs stamp was “status neutral”.
“The difference is that accompanying customs documentation is finally harmonized in a status neutral way. International guarantees have been given that it will be so and Priština confirmed that this was the final look of the stamp, without any variations that they were proposing,” the team head was quoted as saying.
He stressed that this was the same stamp that the Kosovo authorities had been using so far but that it did not contain any symbols of sovereign Kosovo.
“The customs, the way it was defined by UNMIK constitutional framework and Resolution 1244, is not an attribute of statehood. There are separate customs territories in the world that are located within sovereign states, for example Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, the Aland Islands. Therefore, it is not the attribute of statehood. The fact that UNMIK confirmed in writing that Kosovo’s customs stamp was neutral, i.e. in accordance with Resolution 1244 and that the states within the EU that have not recognized Kosovo recognized such a stamp confirms that there is no attribute of Kosovo’s sovereignty there,” the Belgrade team head explained.
“It’s a stamp that Priština has been using so far. However, Priština’s delegation has several times so far voiced its stance that it should say ‘Republic of Kosovo’, with Kosovo’s coat of arms. This agreement has also defined our treatment of such customs documentation in form of an additional stamp. That was not agreed upfront,” Stefanović told the daily.
He added that the Serbs who requested his resignation were a group of “extremist people” from the Serb National Council “who have so far several time assessed that we have betrayed their interests, requested my resignation and even filed criminal charges because of it”.