18 May 2005
Text of report by Russian news agency Interfax
Moscow, 18 May: Belgrade opposes the idea of hasty decisions on the status of Kosovo since they could undermine stability in the region.
The leader of Serbia-Montenegro's Coordinating Centre for Kosovo[-Metohija], Nebojsa Covic, said this at a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday [18 May].
"As far as the status of Kosovo is concerned, we should try to put off a final decision (on the province's status - Interfax note) in order to achieve concrete results. Otherwise, the situation in the region - notably Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia - could deteriorate," Covic said. He said once all standards had been met, it would then be possible to discuss the province's status.
Covic also said that, during talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Moscow and Belgrade had achieved a high degree of mutual understanding on Kosovo-Metohija. "Moscow and Belgrade's shared position is that there should be a realistic assessment of the situation in Kosovo," he stressed.
Covic recalled that the UN Security Council would hear a report on the situation in the province on 27 May. "Belgrade awaits realistic evaluations of the situation in the province. We consider that conditions have not yet been created there for launching the process of monitoring standards," the high ranking Serbian representative noted.
He said Belgrade sees a need for a special UN envoy who would monitor adherence to standards in Kosovo. "The UN reports must be realistic, irrespective of whether they are positive or not."
Covic said the return of Serbs to Kosovo was still proceeding extremely slowly. According to his information, only 12,500 of the 220,000 non-Albanian refugees had returned to the province during the last six years. Only 5,000 of them are Serbs.
Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian