[Announcer] The Contact Group has reiterated that it will take all measures to reach a resolution [of Kosovo status] this year, adding that the final resolution required, among other things, the agreement of the Kosova [Kosovo] people. Meanwhile, at their meeting with representatives of the Contact Group in Prishtina [Pristina], the [Kosovo] unity team presented its stance for the acceleration of the resolution of Kosova status. The Serbs, on the other hand, said after the meeting that they had heard that Belgrade had accepted that the issue of decentralization should be resolved in the new Kosova constitution.
[Reporter Blerta Dalloshi] In a statement released after meetings with national and international officials in Kosova, the Contact Group reiterated their commitment to safeguarding the presence of Serbs in Kosova. The Contact Group was firm that agreements should be negotiated within the status process and they should guarantee all rights and security for Kosova citizens. The Contact Group urges Kosova leaders to be flexible in status negotiations, in particular regarding decentralization and the protection of the cultural heritage of the Serb Orthodox Church in Kosova. In their statement they said that they had requested that Kosova leaders offer concrete results concerning Standards, in particular those that deal with minority issues. After the meeting the member of the Kosova delegation Hashim Thaci said the Kosova side would be creative in presenting ideas and suggestions in order to conclude the status process successfully this year.
[Hashim Thaci] The Contact Group said it would continue its firm commitment to status resolution so that 2006 would be the year when a decision on status is taken. We believe that - with the support of the international community we will have a sovereign and independent country.
[Reporter] He said that there was a joint stance that the Kosova side has never blocked the talks process on decentralization and, as he put it, there would be no horizontal linkages between municipalities or a third level of government in Kosova.
At the meeting of the Contact Group and Serb representatives it was said that the Belgrade negotiating team is ready to make concessions, which means that the huge differences that have existed so far between the negotiating teams would be overcome, Serb official Randjel Nojkic said after the meeting.
[Randjel Nojkic, in Serbian with Albanian voiceover] I have heard for the first time that Belgrade would agree to resolve decentralization and other pending issues within the new Kosova constitution. Contact Group members informed us that Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica would soon travel to Paris to discuss Serb participation in Kosova institutions. The position of the Contact Group is that the biggest successes would be achieved if Serbs participated in all developments.
[Reporter] In their statement the Contact Group encourages Serbs and non-Serb minorities in Kosova to participate actively in the status process and government institutions of Kosova. The visit by the Contact Group follows their meeting in Athens, at which they said the resolution of Kosova's status should be acceptable for its majority population. The fourth meeting in Vienna would finalise local government issues and open up prospects for the final status agreement.
Source: KohaVision TV, Pristina, in Albanian 1700 gmt 7 Apr 06