Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What options will appear at the start and end of talks on Kosovo’s status?

Under the subheader ‘On the eve of the international process for the settlement of Kosovo’s status’, Zëri carries a report on the options that will appear during talks on Kosovo’s status. The paper says that the political authorities in Kosovo and Serbia and the international community have more or less made public their initial positions on the issue of status.

The international community through the Contact Group has ruled out three principles from the process of negotiations: Kosovo’s return to the pre-1999 situation, Kosovo’s territorial division and Kosovo’s union with any neighbouring country. Zëri notes that in reality the first and the third option were never part of serious discussions, “but the objection of the third principle – territorial division – which was always promoted by Belgrade, was a great turning point in the Contact Group’s approach toward Kosovo.”

The newspaper says that from the international point of view there are three options on the negotiating table. The first possibility is the creation of a union between Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro, “an option that remains only on paper, because it is known that none of the three centres (Pristina, Belgrade and Podgorica) support the idea”. The second possibility is to once again delay the final status of Kosovo by creating another transitional period with political and economic developments that would preannounce Kosovo’s independence. The third option is conditional independence, with a clear status of Kosovo’s independence, but with a civilian and military presence of the international community that would guarantee the transformation of the Kosovan society into a society of liberal democracy and the protection of minority rights.

The newspaper predicts that in the course of negotiations, Belgrade will insist on postponing the resolution of status or ask for territorial compensation (the northern part of Kosovo) in case of Kosovo’s independence.

“The position that unites all Kosovo institutional and political leaders, says the paper, “is that independence is non-negotiable. The full independence of Kosovo, with an international status, territorial integration and borders according to the 1974 Constitution, is the position of the Kosovan leadership for both the beginning and the end of the negotiating process.”

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