Wednesday, April 27, 2005

UNMIK says direct talks between Kosovo and Serbia to go ahead

[Announcer] Although President Ibrahim Rugova has rejected direct dialogue between Prishtina and Belgrade, the dialogue will happen anyway, UNMIK [United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] officials have said while referring to [UNMIK chief] Soeren Jessen-Petersen's appeal to Kosova [Kosovo] political leaders to find common ground on key issues which would take Kosova towards the final status talks.

[Reporter Aferdita Carkaxhiu] There will be a direct Prishtina-Belgrade dialogue, UNMIK officials said at a press conference. They said that that UNMIK chief Soeren Jessen-Petersen had invited Kosova political leaders to work together towards reaching an all inclusive consensus.

[UNMIK Spokesperson Marcia Poole in English with Albanian voice-over] Jessen-Petersen has encouraged the government and the opposition and all Kosova political leaders to work together to reach an all inclusive consensus on key Kosova issues in the coming months, including decentralization and preparations for talks on the final status.

[Reporter] Kosova President Ibrahim Rugova responded negatively to the invitation by Serbian President Boris Tadic for direct talks. Nonetheless, according to Rugova, there is still a possibility, but only in an international meeting.

Several days ago the UNMIK chief said that he was looking into the possibility of organizing an international meeting but, according to UNMIK Spokesperson Marcia Poole, UNMIK chief Jessen-Petersen had encouraged direct talks between Prishtina and Belgrade.

Referring to Serbian President Tadic's invitation, the UNMIK chief encouraged a direct meeting between Mr Tadic and President Rugova. Jessen-Petersen has said that they are neighbours and although the final status has not been solved they will still remain so. Yet, if there is an international conference in the region or elsewhere it would have been a good opportunity to meet.

Speaking about talks on Kosova's status, Poole said that although there were many partners there are only two secure places on the table - Prishtina on one side and Belgrade on the other, while others are not known.

One thing is clear: the final decision on Kosova's final status will be taken by the [UN] Security Council, UNMIK officials said.

Source: KohaVision TV, Pristina, in Albanian 1700 gmt 27 Apr 05

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