Remarks by High Representative Catherine Ashton
Remarks by High Representative Catherine Ashton at the press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council.
Yesterday we had a meeting of defence ministers to discuss security and defence policy and you'll see conclusions on this adopted today. Today we began by looking at the Western Balkans and our relationship especially with Bosnia and Herzegovina and the desire to see progress in that country.
We paid tribute to the work of our Special Representative Peter Sorensen, who is also head of delegation in Sarajevo, and the collaboration with the office of the High Representative on the ground. Not surprisingly there was a great deal of interest in the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue which continues in Brussels today, into its second day.
It finished at 10pm last night and began again at 11am this morning and they're still meeting. The purpose of the dialogue is to look at very practical issues that affect the capacity of those who live in the North of Kosovo to be able to get on with their lives.
Colleagues in the Foreign Affairs Council were very keen to ensure that the message of the need to see the barriers removed and violence stop was understood and received by everyone. We also had a discussion about the potential for Serbia to come closer to the European Union and for the relationship in the context of the European perspective to develop with Kosovo as well.
In terms of Serbia, as you know I am in regular contact with President Tadic whom I met last week here for dinner. I know that he feels very strongly that it is important to stop the violence in the north and I am very pleased with the statement that he has made.
What I have asked him to do is to make sure that from Belgrade they are putting the maximum pressure on those who are perpetrating this violence to make sure that the barriers are removed. I am sure that Member States when they will have their discussion in the General Affairs Council will examine what is being done and what is being said in what is their debate about the future.