Thursday, June 02, 2005

Kosumi for Kosovo Status Talks to Begin in September

Ljubljana, 02 June (STA) - Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi has voiced

the hope that the talks on the final status of the province will be

launched in September and that they will wrap up in less than a year.

Speaking at a press conference in Ljubljana on Thursday, Kosumi said he

would not venture to speculate about the final status of Kosovo, but was

quick to point out that the province wanted independence.

Kosovo will also seek the assistance of the OSCE, Kosumi said after

today's talks with Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, who currently chairs

this security organisation.

The pair addressed reporters at a joint press conference, welcoming the UN

Security Council's report on the situation in Kosovo. Kosumi admitted that

the province had problems in virtually every aspect, but added that the

institutions there were democratic and stable.

According to Rupel, he and the Kosovo PM also debated the future relations

between the province and Serbia-Montenegro, as well as its role in

international organisations, with emphasis on the progress of Southeastern

Europe towards the EU and NATO.

Rupel said Slovenia would insist this region should remain an EU priority,

while the Kosovo official voiced the hope that Slovenia and the province

would meet in the Union in the end.

The pair stressed the need for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina to

resume. This is especially important in light of the announced assessment

of implementation of democratic standards, a condition for the beginning

of Kosovo status talks and the province's progress towards the EU and


The international community expects Kosovo to meet eight requirements,

including the establishment of working democratic institutions, the

protection of minorities, economic development, the rule of law, freedom

of movement and property rights.

According to Kosumi, the integration of Kosovo minorities, in particular

Serbian, is vital for the province's development and progress. He also

said that his government was currently focusing on arranging for the

launch of Kosovo status talks with the international community.

Kosumi and Rupel praised relations between Slovenia and Kosovo, with

Kosumi thanking Slovenia for the help it had offered to the province in

the past, in particular when the times were toughest. Rupel promised

further help from Slovenia and the OSCE, should that prove necessary.

According to him, the OSCE has still a lot of work to do in Kosovo. He

said OSCE countries would assist the province by training its police force

and aiding its institutions to secure lawfulness.

Kosumi, who is visiting Slovenia today, was also due to hold talks at the

Chamber of Commerce, where he was to meet business executives interested

in doing business with Kosovo. In the meeting with Rupel, he urged

Slovenian business people to increase investments in the Kosovo economy.

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