8 October 2005 – Following Secretary-General Kofi Annan's announcement that final status talks on Kosovo should begin, the senior United Nations envoy to the province met with Serbian leaders to stress that dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade would be crucial as the political process enters its next phase.
In Søren Jessen-Petersen met Serbian President Boris Tadic, Prime Minister Kostunica and the head of the Coordination Centre for Kosovo, Sanda Raskovic-Ivic, as well as the Contact Group during a day and a half visit to Belgrade that began on Friday.
Mr. Jessen-Petersen stressed that work will continue on decentralisation and on implementing the Standards which serve as benchmarks of progress and are essential for building a multi-ethnic society in Kosovo.
“It is equally important that dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade on the important issues in Kosovo also continues,” he said.
The SRSG reiterated to both the President and the Prime Minister the need for a much more constructive engagement on the part of Belgrade in trying to deal with many practical problems that minorities, in particular the Kosovo Serbs, are facing.
Progress so far has been limited, and the Albanian-majority local government must demonstrate a stronger commitment, “but without a direct, constructive engagement on the part of Belgrade there will always be limits to how much we can do,” he added.
“We want to make it possible for all citizens, all minorities, but most importantly for the Kosovo Serbs to feel that they are safe, that they have a future in Kosovo,” he said. “That requires a constructive engagement on the part of Belgrade, so that we can get the involvement of the Kosovo Serbs. After all, it is their future and they should be involved in designing it,” he said.
During the visit, the envoy also met representatives from the families of missing persons. He reiterated his personal commitment to this issue and assured them that the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will continues to press for answers about their loved ones.