Saturday, January 08, 2005

Kosovo politician says Serbian premier's visit should not have been allowed

Prishtina [Pristina], 7 January: There are many reasons why, according to the Democratic Party of Kosova [Kosovo] [PDK], the visit by [Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav] Kostunica to Kosova should not have been allowed. Among other things, he has obstructed the election process in Kosova, thus hampering the integration of the Serbs in Kosova institutions, Albanian missing persons have not been returned, and Kostunica has been inciting instability in Kosova and the region in general. This is what Jakup Krasniqi, head of the PDK parliamentary group, said today about Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's visit to Kosova.

UNMIK spokeswoman Claris Pastori told Kosovapress today that the Serbian prime minister had visited the Peje [Pec] Patriarchate in a private capacity and that he was not going to meet with local and international officials.

According to Pastori, the aim of the visit by the Serbian prime minister - his first since he became prime minister - was to attend a ceremony on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas. She also said that the visit was taking place at Kostunica's request.

Kosova government spokesman Arben Qirezi, on the other hand, told Kosovapress that UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] chief Soeren Jessen-Petersen had informed the prime minister about the Serbian prime minister's private visit to Kosova and had not asked his permission for such a visit.

Qirezi said that the government regarded the visit by the Serbian prime minister to Kosova as a private one.

"The Kosova government regards Kostunica's presence in Kosova as a private affair. Other officials have visited Kosova for private reasons. For this reason, the government regards this visit by a foreign official in a private capacity," he said.

Qirezi also said that the government and the prime minister had no reason to react, given that it was a private visit.

"There is no reason for the government to react to this visit and it does not represent any danger for Kosova. Jessen-Petersen has told us that this is a private visit for religious reasons," he said.

Jakup Krasniqi, a member of the PDK presidency and also head of the PDK parliamentary group, said that there were many reasons to stop the Serbian prime minister's visit to Kosova.

[Passage omitted: repeat of comments cited at beginning of report]

Krasniqi said that the position of the Kosova government after the October election had been very difficult and added that it was going to find it difficult to get recognition from the international community and particularly from the European factor.

According to him, the Kosova government should have reacted against Kostunica's visit, not just keep silent.

"The government should have reacted, not keep silent. This is unnecessary silence on the part of the Kosova government because here we have a man who has not changed his policies in the past five or six years and has been manipulating the Kosova Serbs to destabilize the political, economic and security situation in Kosova," Krasniqi said.

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