Belgrade-Pristina direct flights may soon be restored

Letter of intention with Lufthansa, customs duties issue

20 January, 18:30

    (ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, JANUARY 20 - A delegation from the Serbian economy ministry on Monday signed a letter of intention for the resumption of direct flights between Belgrade and Pristina in Berlin with the German flag carrier Lufthansa. As the Serbian ministry reported in a statement, the signing marked an initial symbolic step towards the resumption of a direct flight between the Serbian capital and Pristina, which Belgrade continues to consider the capital of its southern province, Kosovo. For the implementation of the letter of intention and the actual resumption of the flight, the statement from the Serbian economy ministry said, it is necessary that Pristina remove the customs duties raised by 100% over a year ago on goods from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, that a commitment is made to comply with obligations taken during negotiations, and that EU-facilitated dialogue resume with Belgrade. Serbia will inform the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, of the intention to restore the flight to Pristina as well as the NATO military mission for Kosovo on the basis of Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council. Lufthansa has informed the Pristina authorities of the signing of the letter of intention, which happened at the US embassy in Berlin in the presence of Ambassador Richard Grenell and the National Security Advisor for President Donald Trump, Robert O'Brien.

    Grenell was the US's special envoy for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. Positive reactions on the possibility of resumption of the flights between Belgrade and Pristina came both from Serbian leaders and their Kosovo counterparts. In the eyes of Kosovo president Hashim Thaci, it was an ''important step in the process towards normalization'' of relations with Belgrade. Serbian Transport and Infrastructure Minister Zorana Mihajlovic said that the resumption of the direct flight could only have positive effects. Serbia does not recognise the independence proclaimed by Kosovo on February 17, 2008, and air and rail connections have been interrupted since the conflict at the end of the 1990s.


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