Kosovo PM: Serb goods tax should not be linked to talks

PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo's prime minister on Thursday insisted that talks on normalizing relations with Serbia should continue and should not be linked to Kosovo's tax on Serb goods.

Ramush Haradinaj pointed out that Kosovo didn't halt talks with Serbia when Belgrade prevented it from joining Interpol last year.

"The tax is Kosovo's sovereign decision. It was not set against the dialogue," Haradinaj said.

"Serbia has taken a lot of decisions but none of them has served to push us not to go to the table of talks."

In November, Kosovo set a 100 percent import tariff on Serb and Bosnian goods, saying it would only be lifted when Belgrade recognizes its sovereignty and stops preventing it from joining international organizations.

The European Union-facilitated dialogue, which started in 2011, has stalled, with Belgrade saying it won't take part until the tariff is lifted. Serbia does not accept the 2008 declaration of independence by its former territory.

Serbia says the Kosovo move has caused serious damage to its businesses.

In a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic reiterated that Belgrade will not resume talks before Kosovo revokes the taxes. He said the levy amounted to a "burden and an insurmountable obstacle for the continuation of the dialogue."

"I would like to stress once more: the moment Pristina abolishes that unreasonable and damaging measure, we will be ready to continue dialogue in search for a lasting and sustainable solution," Vucic wrote.

The European Union has said that normalization of their bilateral ties is a precondition for further integration of both countries into the bloc.

Both the EU and the United States have urged Kosovo to revoke the tariff.

___

Llazar Semini contributed from Tirana, Albania; Jovana Gec from Belgrade, Serbia.

___

Follow Llazar Semini on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lsemini

People also read these

Albania protesters hurl firebombs after calls for...

May 13, 2019

Anti-government protesters in Albania have hurled firebombs and flares at riot officers standing in...

40,000 gather in Armenia to demand leader's...

Apr 20, 2018

About 40,000 demonstrators gathered on the capital's central square as a week of large protests...

Armenia protests: 70 arrested, including 2...

Apr 21, 2018

Armenian authorities say more than 70 people have been arrested, including two people suspected of...

The Latest: Armenia lawmakers reject opposition...

May 1, 2018

The Armenian parliament has voted against naming protest leader Nikol Pashinian as the country's...

The Latest: Pashinian claims needed 1/3 support...

May 2, 2018

The opposition lawmaker who has spearheaded mass protests in Armenia says all three opposition...

Sign up now!

About Us

24-7 Reporters publishes up-to-the-minute news 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our certified reporters are among the most experienced, well-trained and talented across the globe, covering issues resonating progressives in every corner of the world.

Contact us: sales[at]24-7reporters.com