Text of report by Skopje-based correspondent Muamer Pajaziti entitled "There is no compromise for demarcation and new border regime" published by the Kosovo Albanian newspaper Koha Ditore on 30 May
Shkup [Skopje]: The Macedonian Foreign Ministry has rejected reports that it has conveyed a request to the international authorities in Prishtina [Pristina] for the Kosovar party to make concessions and agree on demarcation of the northern border before the final status of Kosova [Kosovo] is resolved, if the implementation of the new visa regime begins.
Foreign Minister Dusko Uzunovski said that there is no talk about such developments, which have been discussed by the media.
"All options on relations and open contests with Kosova remain open, and our established position is that the demarcation of the northern border with Kosova should take place before the final status of this neighbouring country is resolved," he told Koha Ditore. He added that he is not aware that requests such as those unveiled by the media have been presented to UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo].
Similar assessments were made by the UN mission in Prishtina. On this occasion, international officials told Koha Ditore that they have not received any such requests from the Macedonian party.
These reactions came after the Macedonian media, relying on sources within the [foreign] ministry, asserted that Macedonia has requested that UNMIK accept the solution for the border if it begins implementing the regulations on the new border regime which, according to the Macedonian media, implies a visa regime.
In the meantime, the Macedonian government will continue to insist on, and lobby diplomatically for, resolving the issue of demarcation of the border with Kosova before the talks on the final status of the neighbouring country begin.
In this regard, NATO and EU officials suggested last month that Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski should temporarily "forget" the border issue which, according to them, is very sensitive and could complicate the situation before the talks on the final status of Kosova.
In a statement on this issue, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn left open the possibility for a solution to be found at a later stage.
However, the official position of the Macedonian government remains unchanged as far as resolving this dispute is concerned. "The Macedonian government has not changed its position on major issues, such as demarcation of the border with Kosova. We believe that this issue is important and must be resolved before the talks on Kosova's final status begin," government spokesperson Saso Colakovski told Koha Ditore.
Over the past few months, Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski undertook a diplomatic offensive to convince the international community and the neighbouring states that this sensitive issue should be resolved. Buckovski took the view that resolution of the border issue is primary for the country, because it will influence the talks about affiliation to NATO and the EU. The governments of Albania and Serbia-Montenegro also supported these objectives of the Macedonian prime minister.
UNMIK's position is already clear - the border should not be resolved now, because definition of the final status should be awaited and the international administration has no mandate for this issue. "We have said that the border should be resolved before the final status is defined, but right now this is impossible," UNMIK spokespersons have said.
Oleg Levitin, UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] media representative in Shkup, has denied reports that a solution to the border dispute must be found before Kosova's final status is defined. According to him, UNMIK has no mandate to discuss this issue.
Source: Koha Ditore, Pristina, in Albanian 30 May 05 p 3