BELGRADE — Belgrade and Pristina should first solve practical issues between them before seeking a political solution to their dispute over Kosovo, Serbian President Boris Tadic said in an interview published Friday.
"At this moment, it is not appropriate and wise to come out with concrete proposals about a political solution, because then we would not reach it," Tadic said in an interview to Kosovo Klan TV, quoted by Tanjug news agency.
"I think it is wise now to approach technical issues and solve problems outside of the political domain," Tadic said.
Serbian and Kosovo officials met in early March for their first high-level face-to-face meetings, brokered by the European Union, since Pristina declared independence in 2008.
Belgrade still considers Kosovo its southern province, while Pristina insists that its independence is irrevocable after being recognised by 75 countries, including the United States and most of the European Union member states.
Although the first meeting did not see a breakthrough, the two sides agreed to make records on land and property available to all, while also discussing regional trade deals and touching on aviation and telecommunications.
Kosovo, whose majority ethnic Albanian population of almost two million had for years been striving towards separation from Serbia, proclaimed independence after several rounds of internationally sponsored talks between the two sides have failed to gain any result.
At the last round of talks in 2007, Belgrade offered a solution for Kosovo in a way of self-government models based on Hong Kong and Finland's Aaland islands, but these were promptly rejected by the Albanian side.
The rift between Pristina and Kosovo's former masters in Belgrade have given rise to all sorts of practical anomalies and headaches.
For example, Serbia currently blocks all goods coming from Kosovo although its own goods can freely enter Kosovo through the Serb-majority north.
Rail connections have been cut since 1999, and Serbian airspace is closed to airlines headed to Pristina.
Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »