ext of report in English by Belgrade-based Radio B92 text website on 5 May
Belgrade, 5 May: The fourth round of Kosovo status discussions continues today in Vienna.
The Belgrade and Pristina delegations will be discussing the formation of municipalities in northern Kosovo, with Kosovska Mitrovica topping the agenda. The Serbian team has suggested to make the northern part of the city a municipality of its own, while the [Kosovo] Albanians are asking for two municipalities to be formed within the confines of one city.
Belgrade delegation member Aleksandar Simic said that it is not realistic to expect the two delegations to reach a compromise on the issue.
During yesterday's discussions, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on the formation of municipalities with Serbian majority communities. The Pristina delegation offered two new municipalities. Belgrade official Slobodan Samardzic said that his delegation proposed the formation of ten new municipalities in various parts of Kosovo in which Serbian majorities live.
"We have one proposal that will solve the problems of the return effort, security, the preservation of the Serbian population, and on the basis of this we proposed the new municipalities. I think that the third party took our arguments well, because they are exact. The arguments were not historic or epic, but rather, based on information regarding the number of refugees and people who live there, and I think that they were well received," Samardzic said.
Samardzic added that the Albanian side was taken by surprise by the detailed proposal of the Belgrade team and that they did not have a good enough answer for the decentralization question. Pristina team leader Lutfi Haziri, however, said that the Serbia team wants to discuss something that the Albanian officials do not understand.
"Our differences are too great. They continue to show up when we are talking about the formation of municipalities because we are working with completely different criteria. Belgrade came out with old documents and proposals and talks of something that is fairly confusing to us and something that we do not understand. Nevertheless, we will continue to discuss this," Haziri said.
Belgrade delegate Leon Kojen said that it is too early to talk about a compromise, but it is important to note that the international officials are beginning to understand that Belgrade's proposal cannot be eliminated.
"Without noting that without giving the Serbian municipalities expanded authority in the sectors of law enforcement, courts, education, health, culture, everything we have asked for, the projects of creating new municipalities will be worthless. These are things that make up an unbreakable whole," Kojen said.
The delegation members and international envoy Albert Roan will give statements to the press after today's round.
The next round of discussions is scheduled for 23 May, at which time the teams will discuss cultural monuments, property rights and economic issues before the talks regarding Kosovo's status begin in June, according to UN special envoy Marti Ahtisaari.
Source: Radio B92 text website, Belgrade, in English 1217 gmt 5 May 06