Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Serbia says new Kosovo ministries "dangerous" move

BELGRADE, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Serbia on Wednesday said it was a "reckless and dangerous political move" to transfer the authority of the police and justice sectors to the ethnic Albanian dominated population of its Kosovo province.

On Tuesday the United Nations, which took over the administration of Kosovo in 1999 after NATO bombing forced Serb forces to pull out, formally established ministries in the two sensitive sectors which had so far been in U.N. hands.

Serbia said the move came at a very bad time when the Serb and Kosovo Albanian sides were starting U.N.-mediated talks on whether the province becomes independent, as the majority Albanians demand or stays part of Serbia, as it now formally is.

"At the very start of talks on the future status of Kosovo such moves only go in favour of the extremist policy of the Albanian leadership in the province," the government's team for Kosovo talks said in a statement.

The government urged Kosovo's U.N. governor Soren Jessen-Petersen to reconsider his decision which "jeopardises Serb and other non-Albanian communities in the province and directly burdens political talks on Kosovo's future status."

The U.N. officials say the justice and police ministries, which will assume their responsibilities gradually will be subject to a "vigorous accountability policy" and the U.N. governor will have the right to intervene.

The 90-percent ethnic Albanian majority is increasingly impatient for independence, but Serbia says this is impossible and has offered the province wide autonomy.

Last month, U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari started shuttle diplomacy aimed at reconciling the two opposing visions. A decision on whether Kosovo will get the independence the Albanians demand is expected in the second half of next year.

The two sides are expected to meet face-to-face in the second half of January, probably in Vienna where Ahtisaari has set up his headquarters.

1 comment:

Dardania 2006 said...

This is Serbias idea of "less than independence more than autonomy".

Serbia clearly still thinks of Albanians are "multiplying insects". Racism seems to have been forged in Belgrade.