Monday, November 29, 2004

Albanian premier "sceptical" about Kosovo premier-designate - paper

"Nano: Sceptical about Haradinaj as prime minister", published by Albanian newspaper Korrieri on 28 November

Prime Minister Fatos Nano expressed his scepticism about the appointment of Ramush Haradinaj as the new prime minister of Kosova [Kosovo]. In doing this, he echoed the European leaders who have criticized this candidacy. The AAK [Alliance for the Future of Kosovo] leader is close to officially taking the position of the head of government, only a few days after he was interviewed by the Hague Tribunal on crimes in the Former Yugoslavia. He was asked about his role in the 1998-1999 conflict, when he was a regional commander of the UCK [Kosovo Liberation Army].

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nano gave yesterday his first assessment of the formation of the new government in Prishtina [Pristina] after the 23 October election. When questioned by journalists a few minutes after his meeting with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel in Portoroz, Slovenia, Nano did not hide his scepticism. However, he added that the last word rests with the people of Kosova.

"I believe that, in the last election, Kosova gave proof of its democratic maturity and its ability to implement election standards, which are a priority part of the standards for a European reality," the prime minister said. He added: "Attention should be focused not only on the formation of a government, but also on its functioning and its establishment as a multi-ethnic representative of Kosova's self-governing institutions. Among other things, this government should reintegrate the Serbs into the institutions and the free, democratic life of Kosova."

Like the EU leaders, Nano had no praise for the rapid agreement, reached without international intervention, on the formation of the government in Kosova. The Albanian head of state said that the multiethnic representation in the institutions and the Serbs' reintegration is important. It should be noted, however, that some non-Serbian minorities have given their consent for the agreement between Rugova and Haradinaj.

Despite his lack of enthusiasm about the new executive in Prishtina, Prime Minister Nano expressed his confidence that the people of Kosova, who expressed their will in the general election on 23 October, would resolve their problems. "I believe that the people of Kosova will resolve the other issues, in cooperation with the European and Euro-Atlantic actors, who are assisting in this process of integration," he said.

The new Kosova government will be headed by Ramush Haradinaj. The LDK [Democratic League of Kosovo] has appointed Adem Salihaj as deputy prime minister. The agreement gives assurance that Ibrahim Rugova will be president. However, EU officials and analysts of Balkan political developments have expressed reservations in view of the fact that the new prime minister has been interrogated by the Hague Tribunal, which means that he might face charges for war crimes. This might disrupt the process of determining Kosova's future.

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