Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Serbs question Kosovo adviser's impartiality

Serbian President Boris Tadic has criticised the role of a Swiss expert at talks on Kosovo's future, questioning his independence from the Swiss government.

Thomas Fleiner, head of Fribourg University's Federalism Institute, was asked by Belgrade in November to advise the team of Serb negotiators.

In an interview with the Belgrade-based weekly magazine Nin, Tadic indirectly questioned Fleiner's independence, and whether his institute's research is funded by public money.

The Serb leader said it would be reasonable to clarify the sources of the institute's funding. Tadic criticised the Swiss government earlier this year for making a public statement in favour of a form of independence for Kosovo.

Belgrade, which says that the province must remain a part of Serbia, called on Switzerland at the time not to jeopardise its credentials as a neutral facilitator.

In a letter on Monday, Fleiner told the Tanjug news agency that he was prepared to give up his advisory role if his political and professional independence were questioned.

He added that those working for his institute were not under the Swiss government's thumb, since their academic freedom was guaranteed by the constitution and canton Fribourg's own legislation.

The institute received SFr1.865 million ($1.43 million) last year in mandates from the Swiss government, with another SFr780,000 from other sources. The cantonal university contributes SFr1.1 million.

Ties

Fleiner, a lawyer who has headed the institute since 1984, told swissinfo earlier that Serbia and Montenegro had approached him because of his knowledge of "federalist systems, multiculturalism and international law".

He said his role would mainly be that of legal adviser to Belgrade's negotiating team.

While he has refused to say whether the Swiss made a mistake by publicly endorsing the idea of an independent Kosovo even before the start of status talks, Fleiner has made it clear that continuing with the status quo is not an option.

The Serb media have pointed out in the past few days that besides the Swiss expert, Slobodan Samardzic - an adviser to Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica - should also join the negotiating team. He is currently a guest professor at the federalism institute.

Fleiner has other ties to the Serb prime minister. His wife Lidija Basta, a legal expert who runs the institute's international section, is an old family friend of Kostunica and his spouse.

Observers say the Swiss expert could simply be paying the price for the uneasy cohabitation between Tadic and Kostunica, who are opposed on a variety of issues.

The two men, who are bitter rivals, are both taking part in the Kosovo talks, which began officially on November 21.

Kosovo

Last month, Serbian lawmakers passed a resolution enabling the government to participate in negotiations, but at the same time made it clear that an independent Kosovo would be unacceptable.

The resolution says it "will proclaim any imposed solution illegitimate, illegal, and invalid" - a warning to the international community not to attempt to force the independence issue unilaterally.

Kostunica told parliament that a solution for Kosovo's status must guarantee the preservation of Serbia and Montenegro's sovereignty as well as essential autonomy for Kosovar Albanians.

Tadic has suggested splitting Kosovo into separate Serb and Albanian entities, along the lines of what was done in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But Kosovo's Albanian leaders have rejected this solution outright.

12 comments:

illyrianboy said...

Dude, cronyism in the negotiating team. That tells how much Serbs really want Kosovo. I bet if some Russian (or whatever) politician came with an idea for a face-saving strategy for the Serbian leadership they would accept it with arms wide open.

Kosovo to its people!

Dublin said...

Poor serbs....they can't even be happy by appointing the most neutral of the neutral.....

The serbs are drowning and they want to make it look like they actually put up a fight!!

Cvijus011 said...

It is quite amusing to see how people discuss in the most primitive manor, undermining others and with arguments that have no validity.

Firstly, if you want to make any expansionist steps, first take care of your internal affairs in Albania (in fact the poorest country in Europe). In politics and in history that is a sacred rule.

Concider my points and give me some civilized and valid arguments.
DOn't justify the stereotypes which exist in western Europe about Albanians.


Secondly, in every historical source worldwide you will find out that Kosovo-Metohija was always Serbian, despite the fact that nowadays it is ethincally almost Albanian. Note that ethnically is not the same thing historically. Historicaly Kosovo-Metohija was NEVER Albanian. Therefore, those who say all the time about Serbian occupation should take a book and read about, I mean, is it possible for Albania to occupy Tirana? It's impossible for one country to occupy its own teritory.

Confucius said...
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Confucius said...

"It is quite amusing to see how people discuss in the most primitive manor, undermining others and with arguments that have no validity." and your arguments are valid because... man i cant believe just how blind you people are. they have been feeding you the same bullshit history for a while now, and you still believe it.

fauna said...

Historically, ethnically, factually & surprisingly (to you), Kosovo was always Albanian, before it was even known as Kosovo.

Sorry to say Cvijus, but you should take a book and read about it.

Cvijus011 said...

"Historically, ethnically, factually & surprisingly (to you), Kosovo was always Albanian, before it was even known as Kosovo."

And your sources are...? Dude, I said valid arguments, something based on facts which can be scientifically proven.

If you take any history book, you'll see whose Kosovo-Metohija always was. Albanians appear in Kosovo-Metohija primarly in small number with the Ottoman expansion and than afterwards during and after the second worls war.

But still, I was always right. Young nations such as the Albanians have the tendency to reinvent history in their advantage.

armera said...
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illyrianboy said...

Cvijus

you're not making any sense in either posts. Find something better to do with your time.

Cvijus011 said...

Illyrian Boy

Perhaps I don't make any sense.
But unlike you, I'm not talking BS and especially no lies. Also I dont't have any complexes, as you through your posts, and especially I don't have the "constant victim" syndrome, as all of Albanian posters.

fauna said...

Cvijus,
depends which books you read. You obviously read the ones you like to believe in.

Anonymous said...

'Secondly, in every historical source worldwide you will find out that Kosovo-Metohija was always Serbia'
Hey cvijus84 maybe historically we should turn to history couple of centuries before when Kosovo was called Dardania in the time of dardanians and the serbs with other sllavs were behind the Carpates. This is according to serb books also
ps. hey cvijus give thanks to Drakula and Van helsing for me...
dont get mad ...just joking nc nc nc