Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Kosovo official denies Kosovo, Serbian premiers to meet in Prizren 24 May

Excerpt from report by Sami Kastrati entitled "Kosumi ready to meet Kostunica" published by the Kosovo Albanian newspaper Koha Ditore on 17 May

Prishtina [Pristina], 16 May: Kosova [Kosovo] Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi is ready to meet any Serbian leader to discuss the progress achieved in the technical dialogue between Kosova and Serbia. Speaking to correspondents after a regular meeting of the working group on standards for Kosova in Prishtina on Monday [16 May], the Kosova prime minister said he had not received any official invitation for a meeting with his Serbian counterpart [Vojislav Kostunica], but he was thinking of sending an official invitation to Kostunica. [Passage omitted]

Meeting may take place this month, but not in Prizren on 24 May

Prime Ministerial spokesperson Daut Dauti has not ruled out the possibility of a meeting between the Kosova prime minister and his Serbian counterpart by the end of this month, but he has denied that a meeting would take place in Prizren on 24 May.

"This is the first public invitation that the Serbian prime minister has made, and it seems the Serbian side has taken the initiative of deciding the venues and dates of the meetings. Of course, this is not official, but more a unilateral expression of the Serbian prime minister's will. Put more plainly, there will not be a meeting in Prizren on 24 May," Dauti told Koha Ditore.

He believes that a meeting will take place, because neither of the sides has expressed reservations about this issue, but he argued that meetings would be arranged and held only with a bilateral will. According to Dauti, in such meetings Kosumi and Kostunica will be equal in terms of symbols. "Both sides will sit at the table and will have their respective flags: the Albanian and UN flags on the Kosovar side and the Serbian flag on the Serbia side," he explained. Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi has also stated that he would meet the Serbian prime minister only if the Albanian and Serb flags are on both sides of the table.

Meanwhile, commenting on reports that Kostunica is ready to meet Kosovar representatives anywhere "in the territory of Serbia - Prishtina, Gjakove [Djakovica], or some other place", Dauti said the Serbs are well aware that Kosova is not Serbia's territory. "I do not think the Serbs will be that naive to refer to Kosova as their territory, because they know a priori that there will not be meetings if they come with stances or prejudices that will harm them," he said.

Source: Koha Ditore, Pristina, in Albanian 17 May 05

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