April 19 Agreement
He also said it was essential that political leaders and public opinion, both in Serbia and Kosovo, support the agreement and actively contribute to its implementation. Good news is so rare in Europe, especially in the Western Balkans, that we can treat ourselves to a little party. The agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, signed on 19 April in Brussels, is indeed historic. PARIS (F) — After months of difficult negotiations, Serbia and Kosovo reached an agreement Friday to overcome ethnic hostilities in Kosovo, a former Serbian province. This is a milestone that officials hope will improve stability in the region and pave the way for both countries` accession to the European Union. It has long been proven that the situation in northern Kosovo cannot be normalized without the dismantling of illegal structures, he recalled. Under the terms of the agreement, Serbia would close its security facilities in Kosovo by mid-July and cease financial assistance, with the Kosovo police remaining the sole legal and legitimate authority in northern Kosovo. The agreement confirmed the republic of Kosovo`s unique legal system as the sole legal authority, he said, adding that it was important to hold local elections in northern Kosovo in October. Prior to the agreement, Kosovo and Serbia had signed several technical agreements on the free movement of persons, intergovernmental border management and customs services, he recalled, adding that Pristina would have an ambassador in Belgrade for the first time. The 15-point agreement provides for the merger of the four northern Serb municipalities (North Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic) subject to Kosovar law. This borough would have powers over economic development, education, health and urban planning.
One of the stumbling blocks was security. The agreement provides that only the Kosovo police will be deployed in the north, but the regional commander will be Serb and the force will reflect the ethnic organization of the region. With regard to justice, a section of the Kosovo Court of Appeal will hold a permanent hearing in northern Mitrovica, with mainly Serbian judges. As far as municipal councils are concerned, elections will be held this year, including under Kosovar law. .