Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Kosovo team to defend decentralization offer at 7-8 Sep meeting in Vienna

Text of report by independent internet news agency KosovaLive

Prishtina [Pristina], 2 September: The Kosovar side has announced that in the forthcoming meetings scheduled for 7-8 September in Vienna, it will provide arguments for its offer on the issues of reforms in the local government and cultural heritage, while, according to team members, the issue of Mitrovice [Kosovska Mitrovica] will be discussed within the decentralization package.

The meetings next Thursday and Friday in Vienna will be headed by the UN Deputy Chief Negotiator Albert Rohan, while the sides have been officially invited to negotiate on decentralization, cultural heritage, and minority rights.

According to an official announcement by the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Kosova [Kosovo] status talks (UNOSEK), "principals of decentralization" and the new municipalities, including Mitrovice, will be discussed on the first day.

Ylber Hysa, member of the Kosova delegation, told KosovaLive on Saturday [2 September] that the Kosovar side would defend the position that the issue of Mitrovice can resolved as part of the decentralization package.

At the Kosova Assembly session that started yesterday (and is expected to resume on Tuesday) the deputies warned the Kosova negotiating team to be very careful with the decentralization issue, and not to allow the process to develop on an ethnic basis.

On the other hand, negotiating team members stated in front of the Assembly deputies that they were on the right course to fulfil the will of the people for an independent and sovereign state. They also assured the country's highest lawmaking body that they will in no way shift from the course that leads to Kosova's independence.

Veton Surroi, chairman of the Hour Reformist Party, said yesterday that the unity team had prepared a document, which he called a "platform" for the protection of minority rights. According to him, the unity team has made its best effort to find a common ground with UNOSEK and Ahtisaari's experts.

According to Surroi, the Kosovar side has agreed that in the process of implementing an agreement on Kosova's status, the actual model of governance will be respected for the next two mandates. He also advised that with regard to the participation of minorities in the Assembly, 10 seats will be guaranteed to the minority communities.

Surroi said the Kosovar side has proposed alternative forms of protection of vital interests through a special panel of the Constitutional Court, which would exclusively deal with the vital rights of minorities.

Source: KosovaLive website, Pristina, in Albanian 2 Sep 06

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