Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Kosovo PM Agim Ceku to Visit Slovenia (background)

Ljubljana, 19 July (STA) - Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku is to expected

to arrive to Slovenia on Wednesday and present his views on the future

status of Kosovo to his Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa, Foreign

Minister Dimitrij Rupel and Parliament Speaker France Cukjati on Thursday.

According to the prime minister's office, Ceku and Jansa would discuss the

ongoing talks on the future status of the province as well as touch upon

Slovenia's contribution towards a stable development of the region and the

increasing economic cooperation.

The seventh and eighth round of talks on the future of the predominantly

ethnic Albanian province are taking place in Vienna. The talks are

currently focused on the devolution of powers and the preservation of

Serbian religious and cultural heritage.

The United Nations' special envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, has

invited leading Serbian and Kosovo politicians to discuss the status of

the province for the first time next week.

Rupel said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday that conditions

for Kosovo's independence would only be fulfilled after Serbia joins the

EU, provided that the country meets European standards.

Slovenian views on the situation in the region also formed parts of talks

during Jansa's recent visit to the US. The prime minister said after

meeting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that any solution should

bring stability to the region.

That the status talks should end by 2006 was one of the key positions

agreed upon on 31 January by the Kosovo contact group, which consists of

the US, the UK, Russia, Italy, Germany and France.

This is not Ceku's first visit to Slovenia. He was arrested at the

Ljubljana Airport in October 2003 on an Interpol arrest warrant issued by


Ceku was apprehended for his role as commander of the Kosovo Protection

Corps, a civilian emergency organisation created after the disbanding of

the Kosovo Liberation Army, which Ceku led in 1999.

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