Saturday, October 29, 2005

Ex-President Ahtisaari Expects to be Named Kosovo Envoy

Former President Martti Ahtisaari expects the United Nations Security Council to appoint him as the head of negotiations on the final status of Kosovo late next week. He attributes the delay in the appointment to the Security Council's tight schedule.

The former President was speaking on a Saturday morning interview programme on YLE TV-1. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said earlier this week that Ahtisaari would be the mediator.

Previous reports by the Austrian news agency APA suggest that the delay may have been caused by a Russian diplomat, who has said that Russia wants a precise definition of Ahtisaari's authority. According to APA's sources, Russia is not opposed to Ahtisaari?s appointment as such.

As the UN mediator, Ahtisaari is to be part of a process to define the position of the multi-ethnic province, which is still formally a part of Serbia, but has been under UN control for the past six years.

The ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo has called for full independence, which is opposed by the Serb minority, and by Serbia itself.

Ahtisaari is to visit UN Headquarters in New York early next week.

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