Thursday, August 11, 2005

Local Govt Ministry says Serb refusal does not impede decentralisation

Koha Ditore reports that following a meeting held in Gracanica yesterday, Kosovo Serb representatives have refused the government’s latest plan for decentralisation. Representatives of the Serb List for Kosovo said Plan B is better in comparison to the first plan, ‘but still insufficient in comparison to the requirements of Serbs’.

Nebojsa Covic, head of the Serb List for Kosovo, told the press that Kosovo Serbs have submitted an offer to Minister Haziri according to which Gracanica and Partesh should become compact municipalities, with large territories and with clear authorisations. According to Covic, Belgrade is currently not influencing the position of Kosovo Serbs, but added that Belgrade should join in as it would ‘help the process’. Ivanovic said the government’s plan was more advanced and added that the partition of Kosovo was not in the interest of Serbs.

“If the government accepts our offer, we have no reason not to participate in decentralisation. If they do not accept it in its entirety there will be consultations… the door shall remain open,” Covic elaborated.

Under the front-page headline, Plan C?, Express reports that the offer of Kosovo Serbs submitted to Minister Haziri lays out requests that go beyond Plan B. Haziri is quoted as saying that Plan B is the final one, that ‘there is no other’.

The paper quoted a senior member of the government as saying that neither the Contact Group nor UNMIK expects a positive response by Serbs. “Therefore, some UNMIK representatives suggested to us on Tuesday that we think of a Plan C,” said the official. UNMIK spokesperson, Neeraj Singh, however ruled out the claims. ‘It is absolutely not true that UNMIK suggested thinking about a Plan C,” he was quoted as saying. The paper also quotes him as saying that the government’s plan is a clear demonstration of progress.

Zëri quotes Minister Haziri as saying that if Plan B fails, political leaders should sit down and talk about the process in general. “If this version proposed by the government is not implemented, I fear that in negotiations with the political leaders, the latter will be served Kostunica’s plan for decentralisation and they will be forced to sign it,” Haziri elaborated. He also said the Contact Group no longer has reason to criticise us.

Dragisa Krstic, member of the Serb List for Kosovo, said in a meeting held in Gracanica that a conclusion was reached that the latest offer of the government for decentralisation does not meet all the requirements of the Serb community.

The daily newspapers also carry a communiqué issued by the Serbian Government, according to which the proposal of the SRSG and the government’s Plan B are unacceptable, ‘because they fail to provide minimal guarantees for improving the position of Serbs and non-Albanians in Kosovo’.

At the end of its coverage, Express says the Kosovo Government is treating this issue only in efforts not to cause delays in the start of negotiations on status.

In a statement to Epoka e Re, Albin Kurti, leader of the Self-Determination Movement, said Serbia has imposed decentralisation on UNMIK, the latter is imposing it on the government and who in turn is imposing it on the people.

1 comment:

arianit said...

Albanian politicians should remember, decentralization is not about Serbs. As long as you satisfy Contact Group, Serbs won't even come into question. Once you present a reasonably effective plan, Serbs will come up with ridiculous requests that in the end will be shoved aside. The question is have Albanians done enough to save international community's face? Can they say to their voters, "Serbs have all the rights, they don't want to take them?"
The best thing would be that we maintain the initiative in giving those privileges rather than let the Serbs come up with ridiculous ones down the road.