Friday, November 04, 2005

Press coverage on Contact Group meeting in Washington

The leading story in all daily newspapers today is the coverage of the meeting of the Contact Group in Washington.

Zëri quotes the BBC Serbian section as saying that within the Contact Group there is still no consensus on the modalities of the negotiating process on Kosovo’s status and on the competences of Ahtisaari and the special emissaries of Washington, Brussels and Moscow. According to the BBC, Ahtisaari insists that he has the main word on talks, whereas the US wants all mediators to have the same competences and for Ahtisaari to be first among equals.

“American and European diplomats are comparing notes in efforts to find a solution for the status,” Zëri quotes an AP report. Express reports that the CG has failed to reach an agreement on the ten non-negotiable principles for talks on Kosovo’s status. The draft ten principles, which was adopted in the meeting in Rome, didn’t get the final approval due to disagreements and requests by some members for addendums and amendments, says the paper.

A diplomat in Pristina, whose government is represented in the Contact Group, told Express that the next CG meeting will be held very soon. The diplomat, who preferred to remain anonymous, also said that agreement has been reached for full co-ordination between Ahtisaari and the CG during the negotiations process.

One of the leading headlines in Lajm is Ahtisaari wants to be in the lead, US favours equality.

Koha Ditore quotes sources in the European Union as saying that there have been no disagreements in the CG meeting in Washington. “An agreement has been reached at the meeting and this will soon be seen in the document that will be prepared with the guidelines for negotiations. The document wasn’t issued immediately due to some minor changes in the guidelines, but this doesn’t mean that there were disagreements,” European diplomats told the paper.

Koha Ditore also quotes diplomatic sources in Brussels as saying that the EU has agreed to appoint Stephan Lehne as its envoy for the talks. Lehne is EU High Representative Javier Solana’s top advisor and has tremendous experience in the Balkans.

Bota Sot quotes NATO sources as ruling out media reports that NATO wants to be represented in the negotiations team. The paper however says that the US is in favour of NATO’s representation in the negotiations team and that France is against the proposal.

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