Wednesday, September 21, 2005

RPT-Finland's Ahtisaari to be Kosovo envoy -newspaper

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The United Nations, United States and European Union have agreed to appoint former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari as special envoy for the status of Kosovo, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

"There is agreement in the New York-Washington-Brussels axis that Ahtisaari be special envoy for status," Kosovo's respected Albanian daily newspaper Zeri said, quoting diplomatic sources.

The province has been a United Nations protectorate since NATO ended the 1998-99 guerrilla war by bombing Yugoslavia to compel Serbia to withdraw its forces.

Kosovo's 90-percent Albanian majority increasingly wants independence, but Serbia is opposed.

U.N. envoy Kai Eide is within days of submitting a report on whether Kosovo has made enough progress on democracy for talks to begin on its "final status". The United Nations will then appoint an 'envoy for status' to mediate between Belgrade and Pristina.

Agreement on that appointment would mean that "final status" talks are already slated to go ahead this year. Officially, the U.N. says it will wait for Eide's report and only appoint an "status envoy" for the negotiations if his review is positive.

"The general impression is that Ahtisaari has experience, knowledge and readiness to tackle this very important job. Two months ago he also expressed himself in favour of this job," Zeri said.

The paper said Ahtisaari would have three deputies, from the United States, the EU and Russia.

Ahtisaari, 68, started his career in the Finish diplomatic service then worked for the United Nations. He became president of Finland in 1993 and in early 1999 was one of the chief negotiators trying to end the Kosovo war.

In Helsinki, a spokeswoman for Ahtisaari said he was currently travelling. "So far I haven't heard anything. We know that the discussions have been going on."

Ahtisaari's most recent success was negotiating a peace accord between the Indonesian government and separatist rebels in Aceh province, ending a 30-year conflict which killed more than 12,000 people.

Finland has nominated him for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for the Aceh talks. He was previously nominated in 2000 and 2001.


Anonymous said...

Excellent choice!!!

Mr Milosevic will you withdraw your troops from Kosovo back to Servia or you would like to return your country in the stone age....

My Man!!!

Anonymous said...

Man shot to death in Albanian church while his children watched

Anton Kçira, the priest at St. Paul Albanian Catholic church in Rochester Hills, Michigan, was just about to distribute communion when 38-year-old Gjon Pepaj allegedly stood up from the congregation and said, "Yes, I am here!" and shot into the ceiling with a 9mm handgun. As the congregants scattered, according to reports, Pepaj then shot 38-year-old Gjek Isufaj in the back of the head, killing him. Then, according to witnesses, he shot into the air again, said, "I've done what I'm supposed to do," and shot Isufaj once more.

I believe this is the civility of the Albanians you were comparing to the Serbs.

Anonymous said...

Just a random article, read who's in power in Serbia today.

Hardline nationalists look certain to make a comeback in the general election in Serbia tomorrow, bringing with them the danger of renewed international isolation and regional instability.

Three years after the euphoria that accompanied the fall of Slobodan Milosevic, a traumatised people ruled by a corrupt political elite is responding to the attraction of the nationalist "Greater Serbian" project and turning its back on the west.

The main contenders in the election, which has been called early because of the paralysis of the political system, include a gallery of indicted war criminals and fugitives from international justice.

Article continues
In the dock on genocide charges at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Slobodan Milosevic heads the list of candidates for his Serbian Socialist party.

From a telephone in jail in the Netherlands Mr Milosevic has been promising new schools, hospitals, jobs, and roads if his party is returned to power, after more than a decade of rule that cost Serbia four lost wars, international opprobrium and economic collapse.

The tribunal banned him using the phone to campaign for the election, but the rules did not prevent his fellow suspect Vojislav Seselj airing his views from his Dutch prison to a campaign news conference in Belgrade this week.

Mr Seselj, who once boasted of gouging out the eyes of Croats and slitting throats with a rusty spoon, is awaiting trial in The Hague, but he heads the list of candidates for his Serbian Radical party, which is tipped to take a quarter of the votes tomorrow and become the biggest single party in parliament.

Its other main candidate, Tomislav Nikolic, stunned Belgrade liberals and western diplomats last month by winning the Serbian presidential election, which was voided by the low turnout.

Mr Seselj's Radicals are committed adherents of the Greater Serbia policies of the 90s, aimed at annexing much of Bosnia and Croatia and restoring control of Kosovo.

"True values have to win," Mr Seselj told the Belgrade conference. Mr Nikolic's campaign message is: "Serbia will protect its heroes. Only the Serbian Radical party guarantees that not a single Serb will go to The Hague."

But while loyalists of the Milosevic regime can be expected to portray war crimes sus pects as national heroes, the practice is not confined to the far right. The democrats who led the anti-Milosevic revolution in 2000, and have been in power since then, have been following suit.

Recently indicted for war crimes in Kosovo, the police chief General Sreten Lukic was put second on the campaign list of the liberal party of the outgoing interior minister, Dusan Mihailovic, who glorified the suspect as "a hero in the defence of our people in Kosovo".

The former army chief of staff General Nebojsa Pavkovic, also indicted for war crimes in Kosovo, is also seeking a parliamentary seat.

Western diplomats in Belgrade are depressed by the campaign and what it portends. Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, described the choice of candidates as "an unnecessary provocation".

But Belgrade analysts say the defiance shown in putting up war crimes suspects for election, and the calculation that it could be a vote-winner, shows how Serbia remains largely in denial about the defeats of the 1990s and the atrocities perpetrated in its name.

Vojislav Kostunica, the former Yugoslav president who appears to be the strongest contender for prime minister, blames Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the Hague tribunal, for the bleak situation.

"The Hague really represents a threat to the stability of democratic institutions," he said.

The opinion pollsters were badly wrong about the outcome of last month's presidential election and must be treated with caution. But three polls in the past week have all given the Radicals up to 25% of the vote, followed by Vojislav Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia, the G-17 party of economists and technocrats and, far behind, the prime minister Zoran Zivkovich's Democratic party which, plagued by scandal and regarded as corrupt, was felled by parliamentary defections last month.

Mr Seselj's Radicals seem likely to be kept out of government by a Kostunica-led coalition. But that will be a highly volatile mix involving personal rivalries and incompatible programmes.

Few would bet on its surviving for long.

While Mr Kostunica is a constitutional legalist, he is also a strongly anti-west nationalist with a record of indecisiveness.

Even without the nationalist extremists in government the new coalition seems likely to be more hostile to the west, especially on the issue of war crimes and The Hague, and on the future of Kosovo.

· Captives and fugitives standing as candidates

Slobodan Milosevic

Former Serbian and Yugoslav president, 61, ruled from 1987 until a popular uprising in 2000.

Went on trial at the Hague tribunal in February 2002 on 66 counts of war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, including a charge of genocide.

The first trial of a European head of state is seen as crucial to international justice and prospects for regional reconciliation.

Refuses to recognise court's legitimacy, is conducting own defence, and using courtroom to play to domestic politics.

Alleged gangster son, Marko, and wife, Mirjana Markovic, fled to Russia to avoid trials.

Vojislav Seselj

Neo-fascist firebrand warlord handed himself in as he was being indicted on eight counts of crimes against humanity and six of breaching the laws of war.

Mr Seselj, 48, is accused of directing war crimes of "particular violence and brutality" during the Serbian ethnic cleansing campaigns in Croatia and Bosnia.

A shrewd former academic once jailed by the Yugoslav communist regime, Mr Seselj was the political chief of the Serbian extreme nationalist Chetnik movement.

Charged with personal participation in the forced removal of non-Serbs.

Sreten Lukic

Former Serb police chief and deputy interior minister indicted for war crimes in Kosovo two months ago, sparking protests by police.

The government refused to arrest him and continues to praise him as a Serbian hero.

Mr Lukic, 47, was the Serbian police chief in Kosovo during the 1999 war.

"In this capacity he planned, organised, guided, coordinated and controlled the... [Serbian police] in Kosovo," the indictment states. "As such he was obligated to protect human lives and the safety of persons and possessions, to prevent and detect criminal acts."

Nebojsa Pavkovic

The 56-year-old ex-army chief commanded Serb and Yugoslav army, police, and special paramilitary units in Kosovo.

Indicted by the Hague in October alongside Mr Lukic and two other senior officers on five counts of war crimes - four for crimes against humanity and one for violating the laws of war.

After the overthrow of Mr Milosevic, the new Yugoslav president, Vojislav Kostunica, made an ally of Mr Pavkovic and for a long time resisted western pressure and lobbying from the opposition to remove him as chief of staff.

Anonymous said...

Man, I love this guy. He convinced the Serbs that they have won the war against NATO in 1999 when they left Kosova.

Ahtisaari, please do your "magic" again and tell Serbs the bad news in a nice way just like you did in 1999 (so they can celebrate their final "victory").