In a front-page editorial, Zëri writes that the last week may well turn out to be the most crucial period for the “enlightening of Kosovo’s fate.”
This assessment is based on two events, the first “a long-awaited public event covered by hundreds of reporters”, while the second was “behind-the-curtain” event without anyone’s presence other than that of those who needed to sincerely talk to one another on what is expected to happen in the international engagement aspect, the paper writes.
With the public meeting, Zëri refers to the “elephants’” round of talks that gathered Kosovo and Serbian top officials. The paper writes that the chief negotiator Martti Ahtisaari and the Contact Group were greatly concerned on what the Belgrade Delegation led by PM Vojislav Kostunica and President Boris Tadic would do and on whether they might walk out of the meeting unhappy with the course of Ahtisaari’s mission. The paper also says that international community’s fear was supported by the gesture of the Serbian PM Kostunica who refused to lunch with his Austrian counterpart Wolfgang Schuessel and three Kosovo Delegation members - President Fatmir Sejdiu, PM Agim Çeku and PDK leader Hashim Thaçi.
The second event is the visit of the US Status Envoy Frank Wisner to Belgrade and the meeting he had with Serbian PM Kostunica. Even though the meeting was held far from the eyes of the media, “it was not difficult to deduce what was discussed in this dialogue”, which, according to diplomatic sources that the paper quotes, was the most difficult for the Serbian leader ever since the Kosovo status talks began. The sources said that Kostunica “as never before” realized that the stand of the USA and of other countries from the Contact Group is in favour of Kosovo’s independence.
According to the paper, not only PM Kostunica but also other Serbian officials have expected that the first round of direct talks in Vienna would bring improvement of Belgrade’s position with regards to Kosovo’s status and that the offer for “substantial autonomy” would even be considered by the Contact Group. However, “these expectations of the Serb side did not materialize”. In fact, Zëri notes, quite the opposite happened. There was never more talk, medially and politically, on independence of Kosovo in the days after the meeting in Vienna than in the last two months. “This approach was topped by Ambassador Wisner, with his unique clarity, in the meeting he had with Kostunica in Belgrade”, the paper adds.
Belgrade is now left with two paths, says Zëri. The first would include Serbia’s new engagement, in the six coming weeks of technical issue talks, where through cooperativeness with UNOSEK it would try to contribute good solutions for the Serb community in Kosovo. The second path makes use of the Serbs in the north of Kosovo to strengthen the resistance against international process for “building the state of Kosovo”. “This road is highly problematic and dangerous for Belgrade”, considers Zëri’s editorial.