Sunday, February 20, 2005

Kosovo premier "confirms contacts" with offices of Serbian leaders

Kosova [Kosovo] Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has reconfirmed the statements made for the Austrian newspaper Der Standard that his office has contacts with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's office and that of Serbian President Boris Tadic.

"Once again I can confirm that my office has contacts with Kostunica's office and Tadic's office. This is my answer. You can assess this as you wish," the Kosova prime minister stated, without giving details regarding the channels through which these contacts had been established and of what function they were.

In the meantime, the Kosova prime minister's statements were rejected in Belgrade. Serbian newspaper Blic quoted an adviser to Prime Minister Kostunica as denying having any contacts with Haradinaj's cabinet. "There could be no contacts with Haradinaj, neither by the government nor by the president, or by the members of the Serbia-Montenegro Council of Ministers," Kostunica's political adviser Aleksandar Simic told Blic. [Passage omitted]

The dialogue with Belgrade is one of the priority Standards. Since the election of the new governing cabinet of Kosova chaired by Haradinaj, the Serbian government publicly rejected the dialogue and influenced representatives of the Kosova Serbs to remain outside the institutions of Kosova.

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