Monday, November 06, 2006
Serbia tells Kosovo talks envoy to resign
Belgrade on Monday told the United Nations envoy to Kosovo talks to resign, accusing him of bias against Serbia in negotiations on the future status of the disputed province."It would be best if (Martti) Ahtisaari resigned on his own because he has failed to organise serious talks and achieve a compromise," the independent FoNet news agency quoted government spokesman Srdjan Djuric as saying.Djuric accused Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president, of trying to control the talks and impose a solution that he had come up with before they began in February."Ahtisaari was certainly not given a mandate to secretly write with Albanians any paper on Kosovo, so it has been a failure in advance," Djuric said of the negotiations.Kosovo is formally still a part of Serbia but has been administered by the UN for the past seven years. Its ethnic Albanian majority wants independence but Serbia is not prepared to allow this."It is high time that Ahtisaari leaves this job to a new international mediator, who would stick to the UN Charter and international law from the beginning," Djuric said.Simultaneously, the Kosovo Albanian negotiating team said there was no reason to continue direct talks with Belgrade because they had failed so far."The Unity Team is convinced that the talks with Belgrade cannot bring any outcome. Thus the team is of the opinion that it is absolutely profitless... to even think of continuing the negotiations," said spokesman Skender Hyseni.Hyseni told reporters the team was "ready to continue contacts and partnership with the international community untill the (decision on final) status is completed".Ahtisaari said in October that eight months of negotiations between Belgrade and the leaders of Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority had led nowhere and suggested a deal be imposed.He is expected on Friday to present his recommendations to the Contact Group of six powerful nations overseeing peace in the Balkans.A Kosovo newspaper reported last week that Ahtisaari had proposed offering "limited sovereignty" to the ethnic Albanians, who comprise around 90 percent of the province's two million population.Kosovo has been managed by the UN since 1999, when a 78-day NATO bombing campaign halted a crackdown by Serbian forces against Kosovo's separatist Albanian rebels.Kosovo has been in limbo ever since. Its future status was set to be resolved by the year's end. But a decision could be delayed because of an expected Serbian general election in December.Speaking during a visit the Slovakian capital Bratislava on Monday, Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian prime minister, Agim Ceku, urged the international community not to delay its decision on the province's status."One of the messages we brought here (to) Bratislava... is the necessity to avoid a delay. I think delay will not bring any benefits to anyone. Ahtisaari is ready. He has prepared his package, his proposals," Ceku said. "We hope that a decision will be taken before February."
Posted by KosovaReport at 7:57 PM