By GARENTINA KRAJA
Associated Press Writer
19 May 2005
Associated Press Newswires
(c) 2005. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Denmark's Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller suggested Thursday that the process to resolve the political status of Kosovo could produce a solution by mid-2006.
Moeller arrived in the province's capital Pristina after talks with leaders in Belgrade where he said on Wednesday that the future solution for the troubled province must be acceptable to both Kosovo and Serbia.
Denmark this month chairs the U.N. Security Council which will discuss Kosovo next week. The troubled province, where independence-seeking ethnic Albanians are a majority, is currently run by the United Nations and NATO peacekeepers.
Moeller said the Security Council was expected to begin discussion on Kosovo's final status around September. "My hope is and I'm working for an end of that discussion in nine months time," he said
U.N.-sponsored talks to determine Kosovo's future could start as early as September if the province's leaders fulfill a list of U.N.-set standards for democracy and protection of minorities.
In Kosovo, he met with Kosovo's president Ibrahim Rugova and Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi.
Kosovo formally remains part of Serbia-Montenegro, Yugoslavia's successor state, but has been an international protectorate since the 1999 NATO bombing halted Serbia's crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians and forced Belgrade to relinquish control over Kosovo to the United Nations and the alliance.
Rugova, who stands at the forefront of ethnic Albanians demanding independence, reiterated his stance that province's independence "would calm this part of Europe and the countries around Kosovo."