Thursday, September 28, 2006

U.S. diplomat rules out possibility of division of Kosovo

PRISTINA, Sept 28 (Hina) - There is no possibility that Kosovo will be divided, it will remain integral and problems may be solved by decentralising authority, US Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried said in Mitrovica on Thursday.

Speaking to the press at the end of a three-day visit, Fried said the draft solution for Kosovo's status that would be drawn up by the UN's chief representative in the negotiations on the status, Martti Ahtisaari, must contain regulations protecting the historical legacy of all communities in Kosovo as well as regulations on decentralisation.

Fried said the Contact Group would try to find a solution for Kosovo by the end of the year, through negotiations. He recalled that the Group clearly said that no side in the negotiations could unilaterally block the process of determining the province's status.

Fried said the international community must remain in Kosovo also after a decision on the final status was made in order to help with the application of the new solutions.

The US official underlined that Kosovo's status should mean that there was no going back to the state of affairs before 1999, and said that the status quo was untenable.

After meeting representatives of the UN Mission in Kosovo, Fried met representatives of the Serb community. He called on them to participate in the work of Kosovo institutions, saying they had the US government's support.

Kosovo should be multinational and the Serb community should have a safe future in Kosovo, said Fried.

The leader of the Serb List for Kosovo, Oliver Ivanovic, said the Serb community counted on international presence in the province and that the guarantees of the Contact Group and notably the US could represent a new beginning for Serbs in Kosovo.

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