Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Kosovo delegation offers "privileges" to Serbian church at Vienna talks

Text of report by Kosovo Albanian Kosovapress news agency website

Vienna, 23 May: The talks on cultural and religious heritage have been going better than at previous meetings, said Ylber Hysa, the head of the Kosova [Kosovo] delegation to Vienna.

Speaking after the first session of the fifth round of talks on cultural and religious heritage today in Vienna, Hysa attributed this fact to the good will on the part of the Kosova delegation, for which he expected a positive appraisal from the international community and the Serbian Orthodox Church [SPC].

Hysa said that the Kosova delegation had been open to proposals about a series of privileges for the SPC.

"We said clearly that we do not want to talk about the name and internal organization of the church. We accept its name, canonical organization, and are willing to guarantee the physical security of important religious and cultural sites in Kosova," he said.

Hysa accused Belgrade of not being open on this issue. He went on to say that the privileges that the Kosova delegation offered included the recognition of the name and organization of the SPC, as well as other benefits.

To a question as to the Prishtina delegation's position on Belgrade's request for the formation of special protected zones around monasteries and other sites in Kosova, the head of the Kosova delegation said that what had been presented to his delegation was not about special zones, but about special-special zones.

The Kosova delegation, according to him, has acknowledged that there are several important sites in Kosova and has offered the formation of protection areas around them with an acceptable radius.

Today's meeting is expected to finish at any moment. Shortly after that, [UN Deputy Special Envoy of the Secretary General for the future status process for Kosovo] Albert Rohan is expected to hold a press conference.

Source: Kosovapress news agency website, Pristina, in Albanian 23 May 06

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