“ICJ decision chance for dialogue”

BELGRADE -- Spanish ambassador to Serbia Inigo de Palacio Espana said that he believes that the ICJ’s decision will open up chance for new dialogue regarding Kosovo.

“Spain completely agrees with the government's stance that the opinion of the International Court of Justice, which is expected in the summer, will offer a very important opportunity for restarting dialogue, that would help us find a functional, sustainable agreement for all sides involved in the Kosovo question, which we believe remains unsolved,” he said.

Asked whether it was realistic to expect the Kosovo Albanian government, that unilaterally proclaimed independence and received recognition from a number of countries, would return to the negotiating table, he said that the question of status was a "very wide concept”.

“I believe that it would be in the best interest of everyone, Priština included, to solve the question of Kosovo’s full-fledged membership in the international community, which is not the case today, because Kosovo is not a UN member, and is having difficulty integrating into regional organizations, while only a third of the international community has recognized it. It would be in the best interest of Priština to find a way to find a solution through a bilateral agreement with Belgrade,” the ambassador said.

Espana, whose country is presiding over the EU, said that he does not wish to prejudice what shape the agreement should take, but added that “it is important for an agreement to exist between Priština and Belgrade to turn towards the future.”

The Spanish ambassador also stated that a solution for the Kosovo question was not a condition for Serbia gaining the status of an EU candidate, but that it "could come up in one of the later phases of membership negotiations".

“I believe that Serbia will be able to become a candidate for EU membership and at the same time keep its stance in relation to the legal status of Kosovo,” he said.