Friday, March 18, 2005

SRSG's remarks after meeting President Rugova - Kosovo

(following President Rugova's announcement of the LDK-AAK coalition and his
nomination of Bajram Kosumi for the post of Prime Minister)

SRSG Søren Jessen-Petersen: "I want to thank the President for having
informed me about the outcome of his talks with all political parties,
including the opposition parties. When I met the political parties the day
the former Prime Minister resigned on the 8th of March, I urged the
President and all the political parties to engage in a round of
consultations to look at the right options, the right way forward, to make
sure that we do not lose any time in moving towards the comprehensive
review and the status talks later this year. I made it clear that, for me,
as long as there is no gap, as long as there is no crisis, this is the
responsibility primarily of the President of Kosovo to consult with the
political parties, and my responsibility is to be available, to listen, to
provide advice and ideas.

But for a Kosovo that is getting ready for status discussions and status,
it is extremely important that we see the democratic institutions
functioning as we expect in a democracy, in full accordance with the
Constitutional principles. I believe that is what we are seeing. Two
political parties have decided to form a government. They have a majority
and, if the Assembly agrees when the Assembly meets, then we will have a
government that knows exactly what they have to do within a very shot
timeframe. We need to produce the next technical assessment on progress of
standards by the 15th of April. Then we have another month to make further
progress on Standards implementation, so that when I go to New York and
report to the Security Council, there will be a lot of progress. The
government, when elected, will know exactly what the priorities are if this
government is elected by the Assembly there will be most of the Ministers
who are already actively engaged in implementing Standards and know that
they have to continue.

I also welcome very much the President's statement here that the President
will assume his responsibilities in making sure that all political parties
take an active part in moving on issues that are of high political
importance to Kosovo, that is, beginning the reflection on how Kosovo
prepares for status discussions. Decentralisation is another issue and I
think that, on one hand, we should all welcome [the fact] that we have a
vibrant democracy, a government, an opposition and, on the other hand, I
certainly count very much on the opposition parties, the leaders of the
parties, Hashim Thaci and Vetton Surroi, to play a very constructive role
because we need to make sure that this government is performing and the
opposition has a role in pushing. That is what an opposition does. But on
the other hand, we also need these important parties, if they are not part
of the government, to contribute to the solution of these very important
issues: Kosovo's preparation for status discussions and other issues like

So, as the President is saying, Yes, it is a relative new experience for
Kosovo. It is a new experience to accept that in a democracy there are
winners and losers. But the goal for Kosovo is now so clear for everybody
that it is within reach, it is now within the hands of the citizens of
Kosovo, the political parties of Kosovo, to get Kosovo into the status

I have been very encouraged by the response over the last ten days. Since
the difficult 8th of March development we have seen a dignified ,
responsible attitude of all citizens: Kosovo Albanians, Kosovo Serbs. I
have been encouraged by [the] restraint and responsible statements from
Belgrade also urging calm and restraint. So I think we are moving through
what may have been one of the most difficult periods for Kosovo, which is
still a difficult [period] but the way it has been managed by everybody
gives me confidence that we are on track, we are moving ahead and, once
again, I count on the President and on all political parties to play
their respective roles. Thank you. "

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