Sofia, May 8 (BTA) - "The determination of Kosovo's future status will build security in the region," the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, said after conferring here on Monday with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin.
"There is clear understanding in the international community that when the status of Kosovo is determined, which we hope will happen before the end of this year, this determination will build security in the region," Ahtisaari said. "I hope that whatever the status it will not endanger anybody," he added.
The Special Envoy stressed that it is too early to say what specific status Kosovo will have. "The international community will stay in Kosovo for some more time, the negotiating process is continuing," Ahtisaari said.
"Bulgaria fully supports the efforts of the UN envoy for resolution of the Kosovo question," Kalfin said. Considerable progress has been achieved since Ahtisaari took office. "We expressed support for the approach that has been opted for: to negotiate first on technical matters, such as decentralization, conservation of cultural and religious heritage, and minority rights and then start talks on the status in the far more favourable environment created by the settlement of the other issues," Kalfin said.
He stressed that it is important that the negotiating process should go on without setting a formal deadline for its completion.
"We expect the Serbian Government to be much more insistent that the Serbian minority in Kosovo be actively involved in the political processes, we expect Belgrade to review its current position," the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said. As he put it, the new leaders of the most important institutions in Kosovo should demonstrate that they can assume commitments and implement them in practice.
Kalfin recalled the principles of the Bulgarian position on the status of Kosovo: that the stability of borders should be guaranteed, excluding the possibility that the settlement of the issue would cause problems in neighbouring regions and countries; that conditions be created in Kosovo for real functioning of a multi-ethnic society; and that the dialogue on the status be conducted with the maximum support of both Pristina and Belgrade."
Later on Monday, Ahtisaari conferred with National Assembly Chairman Georgi Pirinski, BTA learnt from the Parliamentary Press Centre. The two discussed the finding of a durable solution to the Kosovo status that would comply with the international human rights standards, democracy and international law and that would contribute to security in the region, as well as Bulgaria's role in this process.
An emphasis was laid on the importance of the constructive dialogue between the Kosovo contact group and the countries of the region, and the role of Bulgaria in regional cooperation received high marks.
"Bulgaria could be useful with its regional experience in the negotiations on Kosovo's future statuts," Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev told Ahtisaari when they conferred here on Monday.
The PM stressed Bulgaria's readiness to share actively in the diplomatic efforts seeking a settlement of the Kosovo question. In his opinion, regardless of the initially irreconcilable positions, both parties should make certain concessions so that practical results could be achieved. The areas of cultural heritage, decentralization and human rights can give an impetus to the further negotiations. "Any solution should have as an objective the stability of both Kosovo and Serbia," Stanishev said, stressing that Bulgaria is directly interested in this process.
The PM confirmed his country's readiness for further useful contacts at various levels. "The idea is to have the voice of the region heard, which would contribute to its stability," he argued. He expects achievement of tangible results during the Finnish Presidency of the EU.
Ahtisaari thanked for Bulgaria's consistent support for the search of a resolution of the Kosovo question, as well as for the emphasis that Stanishev laid in his speech at the SEECP Summit in Thessaloniki on the European prospect of the countries of Southeastern Europe as a component of regional cooperation. The Special Envoy said that the contribution of each country is taken into consideration and that after Bulgaria, he will hold consultations in Moscow and Beijng. Ahtisaari said that he is working closely with the contact group but it is difficult to comply with all conditions to attain the standards set by the international community. One of the principal objectives now is to prevent a division of the international community on the matter of Kosovo before the next phase of the negotiations. In this connection, the guest stressed the importance of the consultations with Bulgaria at this point and commended highly Bulgaria's contribution. ZH, IT/LG