Belgrade, 8 May: Federal Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic has proposed the South Tyrol as the closest model for the final status of Kosovo, saying this is a status which meets the requirement of "more than autonomy, less than independence". In the South Tyrol, the Austrian majority has practical sovereignty while the Italian minority has special rights.
"I would agree with that solution. It provides for the greatest degree of protection for the Italian minority in the framework of the existing borders, and we are for something which is very similar to that solution," he said.
Draskovic thinks negotiations on the province's final status could begin by the end of this year, but says it's unlikely they'd be completed before the end of 2006.
"In fact it would be good for that process to last a long time because in the meantime we will be Europeanising Serbia, entering NATO in 2007, we'll find ourselves in a situation where it is one short march into the EU. Then the future will look completely different, even the look of Kosovo, because the Europe project consigns independence to the past and brings in the principle of interdependence," said the foreign minister.
Source: Radio B92 text web site, Belgrade, in English 1033 gmt 8 May 05