Brüssel, 12. February 2007 Press release

Plassnik: "Political commitment of neighbours important for the Balkans"

12.02.2007

Plassnik at the Regional Partnership meeting prior to the meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels

Brussels, 12 February 2007 - "The political commitment of the neighbouring states of the Balkans is important, particularly now," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik prior to today's meeting of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers which will focus on a discussion of the relations between the EU and Serbia. In preparation for the Council Plassnik invited her colleagues from the Regional Partnership, which consists of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Poland, to a meeting.

"We want to establish clear signposts along the European path for the people of Serbia too. The European future must be tangible and credible for our partners in the Balkans," continued Plassnik.

The Foreign Minister stressed her support for a swift resumption of negotiations on the stability and association agreement with the new Serb government: "If the new government makes it clear beyond doubt that it is actively and determinedly working on full cooperation with the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, then the EU should resume negotiations on the stability and association agreement as quickly as possible."

With regard to the Kosovo status negotiations, which are entering their critical stage, Plassnik emphasised her confidence in the farsightedness and persistence of UN chief negotiator Martti Ahtisaari. "Belgrade and Pristina should grasp the extended hand and submit a precise statement of their ideas in the forthcoming consultations," emphasised the Foreign Minister.

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