Wednesday, April 12, 2006

EU prospect vital for Kosovo success - U.N. envoy

BRUSSELS, April 12 (Reuters) - The EU must continue to hold out the prospect of membership for western Balkan states if efforts to resolve Kosovo's status are to succeed, the United Nations mediator for the disputed territory said on Wednesday.

Speaking after talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, U.N. Special Representative Martti Ahtisaari played down suggestions that talks between Serbia and Kosovo he is brokering on the future of the breakaway Serbian province had run into trouble.

"Perhaps the most important support I can receive from the EU is that member states keep the European perspective in sight, not only for Kosovo, but also for Serbia and the rest of the Western Balkans," he told a joint news conference.

"That is an important incentive."

Negotiations on Kosovo's future in Vienna appeared to falter last week over demands for autonomy for the Serb minority within the majority Albanian territory.

The former Finnish president said such differences were nothing unusual at this stage of a negotiation. "I don't accept that there hasn't been overall progress in the talks," he said.

Diplomats say independence is almost inevitable for Kosovo, seven years after NATO drove out Serbian forces, leaving a virtually self-governing territory under U.N. control. Belgrade has refused to give up the idea of creating a Serb "entity" within Kosovo, something the United Nations has ruled out.

Ahtisaari said talks on practical issues, like municipal governance, preserving Kosovo's cultural and religious heritage and economic cooperation, would continue into May or June.

He would then hold discussions with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council, after which the most sensitive issue of the future status of Kosovo would have to be negotiated between Serbia and Kosovo Albanians.

Barroso and Rehn backed his approach. "If Europeans really want President Ahtisaari to succeed in bringing a sustainable settlement in Kosovo ... then let's stick to the European perspective and not wobble on this issue," Rehn said.

MESSAGE

Barroso said the EU executive believed it was time for all parties involved to make "serious compromises".

While there was some discussion among member states as to how far EU enlargement should go, he noted they had unanimously agreed to give candidate status to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia last December.

Barroso said more should be done to tell ordinary people in the Balkans they had a European future.

He would not be drawn on independence for Kosovo, which Britain and the United States have said is almost inevitable.

The Commission chief said the EU sought "a democratic, stable, truly multi-ethnic Kosovo", but added: "We are not anticipating the outcome of those talks."

Whatever the decision on status, Ahtisaari said, it was crucial to ensure a safe future for minorities now, and not postpone the protection of minority rights until final status was agreed.

He rejected Belgrade's call for the two issues to be discussed in parallel and urged Serbia to reconsider its call for Kosovo Serbs to sever links with Pristina.

"It's a very old and worn slogan that you need two to tango. It's miserable to dance the tango all alone," he said.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

urged Serbia to reconsider its call for Kosovo Serbs to sever links with Pristina

They are citizens of Serbia in which Belgrade is the capital. I don't see why they would look to Prisitina at all, especially since the "governement" there is led by an anti-Serb terrorist.

Anonymous said...

That is the same for albanians of east kosova to boycot talking with the serbs since the mojrity of them are rapists.

Anonymous said...

Very well said 11:23

Anonymous said...

Independence is inevitable!

NYoutlawyer said...

Independence MUST be stopped. Please read the following:


Terrorists use Balkan corridor
The Associated Press

TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 2006
SARAJEVO Islamic militants with ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have been crisscrossing the Balkans for more than 15 years, according to an intelligence report focusing on their activities in Bosnia.

The 252-page analysis, compiled by U.S. and Croatian intelligence, said extremists, financed in part with cash from narcotics smuggling operations, were trying to infiltrate Western Europe from Afghanistan and points farther east via a corridor through Turkey, Kosovo and Albania.

The report offers new evidence to support what the authorities long have suspected: that terrorists have taken advantage of the Balkans' porous borders and relatively lax security to meet, train and possibly plot attacks elsewhere in Europe.

Thousands of Islamic fighters came to Bosnia to fight on the Muslim side during the country's 1992-95 war, but militants were active in the region even before it dissolved into ethnic conflict, the report says.

They included Kamr Ad Din Khirbani, a member of the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, who moved to Croatia in 1991 to set up a humanitarian aid organization at the direct request of Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, the report says.


SARAJEVO Islamic militants with ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have been crisscrossing the Balkans for more than 15 years, according to an intelligence report focusing on their activities in Bosnia.

The 252-page analysis, compiled by U.S. and Croatian intelligence, said extremists, financed in part with cash from narcotics smuggling operations, were trying to infiltrate Western Europe from Afghanistan and points farther east via a corridor through Turkey, Kosovo and Albania.

The report offers new evidence to support what the authorities long have suspected: that terrorists have taken advantage of the Balkans' porous borders and relatively lax security to meet, train and possibly plot attacks elsewhere in Europe.

Thousands of Islamic fighters came to Bosnia to fight on the Muslim side during the country's 1992-95 war, but militants were active in the region even before it dissolved into ethnic conflict, the report says.

They included Kamr Ad Din Khirbani, a member of the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, who moved to Croatia in 1991 to set up a humanitarian aid organization at the direct request of Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, the report says.


SARAJEVO Islamic militants with ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have been crisscrossing the Balkans for more than 15 years, according to an intelligence report focusing on their activities in Bosnia.

The 252-page analysis, compiled by U.S. and Croatian intelligence, said extremists, financed in part with cash from narcotics smuggling operations, were trying to infiltrate Western Europe from Afghanistan and points farther east via a corridor through Turkey, Kosovo and Albania.

The report offers new evidence to support what the authorities long have suspected: that terrorists have taken advantage of the Balkans' porous borders and relatively lax security to meet, train and possibly plot attacks elsewhere in Europe.

Thousands of Islamic fighters came to Bosnia to fight on the Muslim side during the country's 1992-95 war, but militants were active in the region even before it dissolved into ethnic conflict, the report says.

They included Kamr Ad Din Khirbani, a member of the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, who moved to Croatia in 1991 to set up a humanitarian aid organization at the direct request of Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, the report says

Anonymous said...

In Belgrade, the capital of nearby Serbia, the local Mafia emailed us to offer a cache of anti-tank missiles, Kalashnikovs, a mortar and illegal landmines for Ł50,000.

And in neighbouring Montenegro, on the Adriatic coast's version of the Costa Del Crime, another war criminal was selling death on an industrial scale.

The man, known as Vesko - a former bodyguard of Serbian warlord Arkan - offered to supply us with 20 rocket-propelled grenades, 20 shoulder-fired missiles and 20 Spider machine guns used by the SAS.

To return to Britain, our investigators followed the route used by gun-runners out of the Balkans. We drove the short distance into Montenegro then sailed by car ferry from Bar to the Italian port of Ancona, blending in with holiday makers.

Once there they flew home - but could have easily taken a coach through Italy and France to Calais or hidden among thousands of asylum seekers hitching rides on fruit lorries and train carriages.

Last night a spokesman for Scotland Yard said: "Britain is on a high state of alert, only one below the highest level.

"That means we know the terrorists are planning to attack targets in the UK."