Friday, June 03, 2005

'Gentlemen’s agreement’ on demarcation until solution of status

Koha quotes sources from the international administration in Kosovo as saying that the upcoming meeting between the Kosovo and Macedonian sides in Pristina will aim to relax relationships regarding the issue of border demarcation. The meeting is expected to result in an informal agreement, which will only be signed after Kosovo’s status is defined.

UNMIK officials told the paper that the agreement would not be signed by the Kosovo local authorities as they did not have a relevant mandate. They also made it clear that the international administration installed in Kosovo did not have such a mandate either. ‘For the time being, the only legitimate side that could sign an agreement reached in principle, which would clearly define a borderline between Kosovo and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is the latter’, said UNMIK spokesman Remi Dourlot.

Kosovo Government officials believe that border demarcation should come only after final status of Kosovo is defined. They did admit that the Government had no authority to sign a border agreement at this stage, thus implying that this could be done by the highest international authority in Kosovo, namely the SRSG, Koha writes.

Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova had rejected any possibility of demarcation talks with the Macedonian side before status is resolved, writes the paper.

Koha reminds that there are 2,500 hectares of land which have been expropriated to Kosovo as part an accord signed between Macedonian and Serb authorities in 2001. The agreement was viewed by Kosovo authorities as illegal.

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