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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
EU Troika – Serbia and Montenegro

Date of release : 01-02-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : EU-Serbia and Montenegro (Troika)

Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration and President in Office of the Council of the European Union, welcomed the Foreign Affairs Minister of Serbia and Montenegro, Vuk Draskovic, as part of the ministerial meeting of the European Union Troika with Serbia Montenegro. The British Minister for European Affairs Denis MacShane and the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana participated in the discussions.

On this occasion, Minister Asselborn made the following statement:

"At our meeting today, we reviewed relations between the EU and Serbia and Montenegro, and we also had an exchange of views on the Kosovo issue.

Regarding the first point, the EU reaffirmed that the integration of Serbia and Montenegro into the EU continues to be one of its priorities. The perspective we offer is clear; the opportunity being offered should be seized.

Unfortunately, we have found that progress is still more than limited. All of you know what the most problematic point is: it is full and complete co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Yet without this co-operation, there will be no progress toward the EU. Yesterday, the Council once again had the opportunity to reaffirm this essential requirement for all the countries of the region.

Everyone agrees that Belgrade is the potential driver of development in the Balkans. Its past attests to this. But today, we must leave the past behind us and look ahead. The future of Serbia and Montenegro is the European Union and I would like to say to my colleague that we are waiting for her.

As for Kosovo, we have reviewed the political situation in the field. The EU has reaffirmed its attachment to the implementation of the standards, to the special importance we place on the observance of multi-ethnicity, and on the protection of minorities. These are fundamental principles that cannot be altered, not even slightly. In this regard, security, decentralisation, and the return to the freedom of movement continue to be the priorities of our engagement.

Progress in these areas is in everyone’s interest. That is why it is of the utmost importance for the Serbs in Kosovo to be actively involved in the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) and in Kosovo’s political life. It is also important for Belgrade to resume a direct dialogue with Pristina, and I welcome in this context the recent statements that Serbia has made along these lines. Dialogue is the only way to move forward in Kosovo."

This page was last modified on : 01-02-2005

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