Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Albania says postponing resolution of Kosovo's status threatens regional stability

Postponing a resolution of Kosovo's future status could threaten regional stability, the Albanian prime minister said Tuesday, while urging Kosovo Albanians to support their negotiating team.The U.N.'s special enjoy for Kosovo said Friday he would delay issuing a report on the province's future until after Serbia held elections in January.Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said that could cause trouble. "Further postponement of Kosovo's final status at this delicate moment complicates the situation, stability in Kosovo and the region," he said. Negotiators initially had hoped to resolve the issue by the end of this year.Albania has been the strongest supporter of independence for Kosovo, demanded by the province's ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of its population.Serbia wants to keep at least some control over the province, and last month approved adopting a new constitution declaring Kosovo an integral part of its territory.Albania has said Serbia's new constitutional claim over Kosovo was unacceptable, and Berisha dismissed the Serbian referendum again Tuesday, telling reporters that "independent, free and democratic Kosovo is the condition for peace and stability" in both the province and the region.Berisha also appealed to the six-nation Contact Group participating in status talks, as well as the European Union, to rule out any change to Kosovo's borders, which he said "would encourage adventurers and demons of all Balkan nationalisms to ... turn the Balkans back to its darkest times."Kosovo Albanians should support their political leadership, which he said had "decisively protected Kosovo citizens' European national interests."Since the end of the war between Serb military forces and separatists in the southern province in 1999, the predominantly ethnic Albanian territory has been run by a U.N. administration and patrolled by NATO peacekeepers.


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