Monday, August 14, 2006

Serbian official's remark on Kosovo partition "misinterpreted" - party

Text of report by Belgrade-based B-92 TV on 14 August

[Presenter Zivana Saponja-Ilic] A statement by Sanda Raskovic-Ivic [chairwoman of Coordination Centre for Kosovo-Metohija] that even a partition of Kosovo would be acceptable [for Serbia] if Serbs, [Kosovo] Albanians and the international community come to realize that they cannot live together has provoked stormy reactions both in Belgrade and among the Kosovo Serb representatives.

The Democratic Party of Serbia [DSS], to which Sanda Raskovic-Ivic belongs, is now saying that she did not mean it in the way that it was reported.

[Reporter Milos Milic] A proposal on the partition of Kosovo, which was mooted by President of Coordination Centre Sanda Raskovic-Ivic as her personal view in an interview with the BBC, has forced representatives of the government and the ruling Serbian parties to deny this idea, or rather to claim that it was taken out of context. This is what Sanda Raskovic-Ivic said exactly about the possible partition of Kosovo.

[Sanda Raskovic-Ivic speaking in English in phone interview with the BBC] If both sides - Serbs and Albanians - face the fact that it is impossible for them to live together, and if the international community faces that fact as well, then a win-win situation would be a kind of partition.

[Reporter] In the meantime, the Kosovo Serb representatives have criticized this statement, saying that it was damaging the Serb interests in the province while members of the [Belgrade] negotiating team [in talks with Pristina on decentralization of Kosovo] have declined to comment on the proposal. The DSS, Sanda Draskovic-Ivic's party, today attempted to clarify what exactly she had said.

[DSS's spokesman Andreja Mladenovic] She did not mention [this proposal] in the way it was interpreted by the BBC, she clearly had in mind two kinds of autonomy and partition of these autonomies within the framework which I have just explained, that is Kosovo-Metohija in relation to Serbia as a state.

[Unspecified journalist] So this is not a territorial partition?

[Andrija Mladenovic] There is a document under the name "Declaration of the [Serbian] National Assembly" and there is a platform of the negotiating team, and rest assured that Sanda Raskovic-Ivic is the last person who would give up on, or depart from, these documents and the platform in question.

[Reporter] While some Western analysts, such as [Balkan specialist] Tim Judah, say that the idea of partition is not new, that it has been present in diplomatic circles and that it was not realistic that it would actually happen, domestic pundits have confirmed that Belgrade has a contingency plan [Plan B] for Kosovo, which in practice means that it deviates from the official proposal on autonomy in the framework of Serbia.

The Serbian Radical Party [SRS] official, Aleksandar Vucic, requested that for every change in plans for Kosovo the government should seek the approval of the [National] Assembly. The last proposal, which was passed by parliament in March 2004, as a resolution for talks on the status of Kosovo-Metohija, envisages essential autonomous status [for Kosovo] within Serbia and personal autonomy for Serbs in Kosovo.

Source: B92 TV, Belgrade, in Serbian 1400 gmt 14 Aug 06

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