Friday, July 29, 2005

Kosovo PM defends progress toward negotiations

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, July 29 (Reuters) - Kosovo's government told international powers on Friday it was doing its best to improve life for its Serb minority, a main condition for talks the Albanian majority hopes will bring the province independence.

Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi met diplomats from major Western powers and Russia days after they wrote expressing concern at lack of progress in giving more local power to minorities, key to clinching "final status" talks this year.

Kosumi admitted the slow pace of reforms but said Belgrade shared the blame by blocking Serb participation in the project to create new municipalities in minority areas.

"The Kosovo government will do whatever it can to overcome these obstacles, but we cannot say that nothing has been achieved," he told reporters after meeting the Contact Group -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia.

The United Nations took control of Serbia's mainly ethnic Albanian province in 1999, after 78 days of NATO bombing drove out Serb forces accused of brutal atrocities against civilians as they fought to crush a separatist insurgency.

Six years on, a U.N. envoy is expected to report by September whether the province has made enough progress to secure negotiations the 90-percent ethnic Albanian majority hopes will lead to formal independence.

The U.N. first wants progress on democracy and minority rights, particularly in decentralising powers to Serbs, who shun authorities in the capital Pristina and continue to live in isolated enclaves watched over by NATO-led peacekeepers.

That progress has been stalled by ethnic Albanians' reluctance to concede too much ahead of negotiations and by Serb complaints over the boundaries of the proposed municipalities.

In the letter to Kosumi the Contact Group said "the process to re-integrate Kosovo's minorities into communities has been too slow". Leaders must re-double their efforts since the result of the U.N. review was "not a foregone conclusion," it warned.

Serbia opposes independence for Kosovo, which Serbs regard as the sacred cradle of their nation. Analysts warn of fresh violence in the still-volatile province if talks are delayed.


Chris Blaku said...

Two things:

1) Why has the International Community, in its infinite wisdom, relentlessly insisted that the Kosovar Government acknowledge 7% of its population with the utmost priority, ahead of addressing unemployment, economic stimulation and basic living standards for the other 93%?

2) Would some of the Serbians care to explain to me exactly why Kosova is the "cradle of Serbian civilization?" I may be looking at the glass half empty, but it seems there was nothing there for the Serbs except a crushing defeat, which they shared with the rest of the Balkans.

Anonymous said...

They know that the 93% of the population experienced high unemployment rates and poverty for more than 2 decades and yet survived. They want to make sure that minority rights are not "violated", which is the reason why they still are involved in Kosova. As I said in an earlier posting, in real terms minorities in Kosova are in a much better position than anywhere in the world.

The whole isolation BS doesn't hold; It is Belgrade who is not allowing them to live free not Kosova's government and people. Which of the contact group member countries guarantees their minorities (fewer than 7%) similar representation in their parliament and government as Kosova? None.

Nobody cares about minorities anywhere, whether it is a developed or a least developed country. Even in America (the mother of diversity) discrimination still goes on in a major scale, but of course it's prohibited by law (same as in Kosova).

Politics, politics, politics... I have come to think that people like those in the contact group are just getting together to get a free lunch and travel around a bit. They are not offering any input towards the solution of the problem whatsoever. All they do is critique.

Mr. F

Chris Blaku said...

Belgrade itself directed the Kosovar Serbians to move into enclaves, particularly into Northern Mitrovica, so it could secure the right to partition the country along the most mineral-rich region.

Chris Blaku said...

Belgrade also violates international law by funding these enclaves.

Anonymous said...

Belgrade has a lot to answer for, in due time, Serb terrorist habbits will become household knowledge, just like Auchwitz.

Chris Blaku said...

They are already household knowledge, and the World has not learned everything Serbia's neighbors know yet.

Anonymous said...

People say something new and meaningful and for the love of God do in a few sentences.

Forget for a second those morons in Belgrade and tell Kosumi to go finish reading and writing!