Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Kosovo's Political Forum seen as advisory body for vital issues

Text of report by Kosovo Albanian television KohaVision TV on 31 May

[Announcer] With the establishment of the Kosova [Kosovo] Forum this Thursday [2 June] the political parties and its leaders are offered the opportunity to work together for the future of Kosova, UNMIK [United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] chief Soeren Jessen-Petersen has said. Thursday's meeting will be attended by Kosova President Ibrahim Rugova, Democratic League of Kosova [LDK] vice chairman Kole Berisha and Ora party chairman Veton Surroi, while the Democratic Party of Kosova [PDK] and Alliance for the Future of Kosova [AAK] will be represented by lower level officials since its leaders will be visiting Croatia and Slovenia respectfully, on Thursday.

[Reporter Shkelzen Coca] The Kosova Political Forum will convene for the first time on Thursday 2 June. Participation in the forum will be a sign of recognition of the progress in Kosova and advancement of this progress, UNMIK chief Soeren Jessen-Petersen said. Jessen-Petersen said that the broad forum would not replace the Kosova institutions but will have an advisory role, thus enabling a consensus on important issues for Kosova.

[Soeren Jessen-Petersen in English with Albanian voice-over] The Kosova Forum is an initiative that enables all political parties to meet and discuss key issues about the future of Kosova. This is an opportunity for the political parties and their leaders and it is up to them to decide whether they accept this progress.

[Reporter] Thursday's meeting will be attended by the country's president, Ibrahim Rugova, LDK vice chairman Kole Berisha and Ora chairman Veton Surroi, while the PDK and AAK parties will be represented by lower level officials since the leaders of these parties will be visiting Croatia, Slovenia respectively, on that day.

[Ora spokesperson Yll Hoxha] Ora received an invitation from the UNMIK chief and will respond to the invitation with the highest officials. Ora will be represented in the Forum's meeting by the chairman, Veton Surroi, and the deputy chairman, Ylber Hysa. The Democratic Party of Kosova, the party that had many objections to the Forum in the initial phase - objections concerning the role and responsibilities of the Forum - has decided to be represented. In future meetings the party will be represented by its chairman, Hashim Thaci, said party official Enver Hoxhaj.

[Enver Hoxhaj] All our suggestions and recommendations have been taken into consideration and the entire debate was simple. We were and are still interested that during the process of status definition our entire political leadership act in unison, as a single political player.

[Reporter] While explaining the responsibilities and role of the Forum, UNMIK chief Jessen-Petersen said after meeting President Rugova that they had agreed that this mechanism should not challenge the existing Kosova institutions.

[Jessen-Petersen] I believe that the president was very pleased. He underlined that the Forum should be an advisory body and it should not replace the institutions and I agree with that. As such it [the Forum] will have the backing of the president.

[Reporter] With the establishment of the broad Political Forum the Kosova president and the four largest political parties in the country - LDK, PDK, AAK and Ora - will try to reach consensus on some issues considered vital for the country, such as the Standards, decentralization, talks with Belgrade and in particular the Kosova platform for the final status talks. Every decision reached by the Forum, in order to become legal, will be sent to the Assembly to be endorsed by the deputies.

Source: KohaVision TV, Pristina, in Albanian 1800 gmt 31 May 05

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