ORA Leader and member of Kosovo negotiating team Veton Surroi writes an opinion piece for Koha Ditore envisaging the flow of talks on Kosovo’s final status.
Travelling forward to 15 May 2006, Surroi says the day dawns with former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari’s awareness that the final round of talks is just around the corner. “Even in November of 2005, in the first meeting to learn negotiating positions, Ahtisaari had heard from Kosovo delegations that there will be no negotiations on independence and in Belgrade he heard that they are ready to negotiate on everything, except Kosovo’s independence,” Surroi writes.
Surroi says that in May 1999, Ahtisaari as at the same time in 2006 was in for a decisive day but in 1999 he was negotiating the peace deal with Serbia to withdraw its troops from Kosovo and thus to bring an end to NATO air strikes while in 2006 he is at the final stage of Kosovo status talks.
After being officially informed by the UN SG Kofi Annan on the mediating role, Ahtisaari had spent September of 2005 having consultations about his next mission. “He heard many things”, including talks of a weakened Kosovo leadership especially after the announcement of President Rugova’s illness, of disputes in Belgrade between the Serbian president and prime minister on who should be “tricked” into handling Kosovo negotiations, of how Contact Group has a unified stand on Kosovo but has not yet managed to “finalise” all stands…
Kosovo issue may present a bundle of questions but Ahtisaari will instruct his advisors to set priorities and this will be the first step, Surroi says. List of priorities will start with guiding principles of super-powers, which will result in framework of documents to be prepared by legal experts. Second thing, according to Surroi, is to establish relations between the Mediator and super-powers. Ahtisaari will ask that the role of his assisting mediators be a liaising one with their respective governments.
“Day is now in its full swing, the 15th. In an improvised office of the Castle, Ahtisaari gathers his deputies and his staff, takes hold of the framework document and announces what was already predicted by all, that this will be the last day of negotiations and that the deadline was at lunchtime,” concludes Surroi.