19 September 2007

Belgrade demands increased jurisdiction for Serb municipalities in Kosovo-Metohija


Source: Government of Serbia
Date: 27 Feb 2007

Vienna, Feb 27, 2008 - Coordinator of the Serbian state team for talks on Kosovo-Metohija's future status Slobodan Samardzic stated that today, just as many times before, Belgrade has put forth a plethora of objections to UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari's proposal regarding the province's decentralisation.

Following the morning talks in Vienna, which focused on financing and jurisdictions of the province's municipalities, Samardzic told the press that Ahtisaari's plan does not envisage special jurisdiction for Serb municipalities, which is what Belgrade demands.

He recalled that last spring, during nine rounds of negotiations, there was talk of six groups of jurisdictions for municipalities which Ahtisaari cleverly evaded in his proposal and instead only proposed some special rights.

Namely, he proposed that the University in Kosovska Mitrovica remains, as well as the right of Serbian municipalities to three hospitals, which rounds up the circle of these special rights or jurisdictions, said Samardzic.

"We think that what is given to Serbs resembles the privileges issued by local rulers in the Middle Ages to certain areas and which the ruler had the right to withdraw. In the modern sense of words, these are by no means unalienable and constitutionally guaranteed rights", explained the coordinator.

He also specified that Belgrade's position implies that whatever Serbia demands should be guaranteed by the agreement being discussed in Vienna, as well as by the constitution. In other words legislation must not be allowed to annul or degrade these rights, he added.

As for municipal financing, Samardzic said that Belgrade demands increased financing of Serbian municipalities in line with their expanded jurisdictions.

According to Samardzic, municipalities must have larger income sources than proposed by UNOSEK and Belgrade insists on a special formula for the distribution of assistance on behalf of provincial organs, which the ethnic Albanian delegation did not accept.

The Serbian team's coordinator Leon Kojen said that the Belgrade team began a discussion on local police and asked for much wider and coherent authority in this sector.

Kojen stressed that Belgrade demanded that the law on police be adopted only with the agreement of the majority of Serbian parliament members in the province's parliament, namely, that heads of local police be chosen at local municipal assemblies.

"It is also very important that we demanded that provincial or special police forces may not enter the territory of Serbian municipalities unless they fulfill special conditions which will be duly presented", stressed Kojen.

Talks on decentralisation will resume at the afternoon session which will focus on inter-connectedness of Serbian municipalities and their number.

More witnesses withdraw from testifying against ex-Kosovo PM in Hague trial

BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - February 24, 2007, Saturday

Text of report in English by Belgrade-based Radio B92 text website on 24 February

Pristina, The Hague, 24 February: Two more witnesses decided not to testify at the [Ramush] Haradinaj trial citing fear for personal safety, the Hague tribunal has said.

The trial of Ramush Haradinaj, former KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army - UCK in Albanian] commander accused of war crimes against Kosovo Serbs and Roma, is set to start on 5 March. He is set to return to the Scheveningen detention unit on 26 February.

Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte's team on Thursday [22 February] asked the court to prevent UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] chief Joachim Ruecker from meeting Haradinaj, as well as to block Haradinaj's interview with the Associated Press.

The prosecution claimed that otherwise the Kosovo public might have been led to believe UNMIK was backing Haradinaj, at the same timer displaying no willingness to protect the lives of the witnesses in the case.

However, the Tribunal rejected the prosecution's request and Haradinaj met with UNMIK and Kosovo officials yesterday.

Source: Radio B92 text website, Belgrade, in English 0928 gmt 24 Feb 07

Ramush Haradinaj has eliminated the majority of witnesses

Radio KIM, Caglavica, February 25, 2007

The majority of witnesses in the court case against Ramush Haradinaj being conducted before the Hague tribunal have changed their mind or decided not to give testimony, Radio KIM and Glas Juga have learned.

The Tribunal's prosecutor's office had a relevant number of witnesses at its disposal until the moment when it became clear that Ramush Haradinaj would return to Pristina and defend himself while at liberty, that is, be allowed to take part in political and public life. Despite the fact that UNMIK claimed that Haradinaj was not a danger to witnesses and their testimony, the number of those willing to appear in the courtroom is negligible. This applies especially to witnesses of crimes, and pressure is being put on families involved in this case which have been transferred from Kosovo.

A characteristic example is that of the family of Skender Kuci, who was abducted and killed by the Kosovo Liberation Army in the Pec area. The members of his family have changed their statements and do not wish to testify. They are rejecting cooperation with the Tribunal with the explanation that Skender was killed by Serbs.

Ramush Haradinaj's defense has in the recent past visited the majority of witnesses prepared to speak against him in The Hague. It is the opinion of some attorneys close to the Tribunal that this has resulted in compromising the families of the victims, which today are no longer willing to testify.

Some of the witnesses have in the recent past died a natural death, while others, such as Tahir Zemaj, have been murdered. Recently Kujtim Berisha died recently in a traffic accident in Podgorica. Some potential witnesses have, in the meanwhile, received large sums of money, switched sides and become members and officials of [Haradinaj's] Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.

UNMIK's protection of these witnesses has demonstrated the inability of this institution in instances not relating to The Hague, too. Hasan Rrustemi, an UNMIK protected witness, was murdered at the farmer's market in Mala Krusa near Prizren with the message that all those working against the KLA would fare similarly.

The Hague Tribunal and its prosecutor Carla del Ponte have stated that they know that Haradinaj is influencing witnesses but UNMIK could not successfully limit the authority and activities of the former Kosovo Liberation Army commander for the Dukadjini region.

Kosovo blast KLA's attempt to put pressure on Vienna talks - Serbian paper

BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - February 23, 2007, Friday


Text of report by B. Mitrinovic: "The return to KLA terrorism" by Serbian newspaper Politika on 21 February


The negotiating teams from Belgrade and Pristina will begin their talks in Vienna today on the proposed solutions offered by UN Kosovo Status Envoy Martti Ahtisaari with the knowledge that the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] has been reactivated in Kosovo-Metohija.


The members of the organization that embarked on a war for Kosovo's independence about 10 years ago caused a bomb blast in the centre of Pristina that damaged three UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] vehicles two nights ago.


This act of terrorism against the representatives of the international community in Kosmet [Kosovo-Metohija] was obviously a calculated message from Pristina to the people participating in the Vienna talks on the future status of Kosovo, which Ahtisaari has assessed as "giving one more chance." The terrorist attack was a grim reminder to Serbia of the pressure that was made against Serbia's negotiating position on 17 March 2004, when the Kosovo Albanians organized riots that resulted in 19 people getting killed, 4,500 being banished, and 35 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries burned down.


In a statement in which they assumed responsibility for the bomb attack, the members of the KLA - which was formally disbanded after the fighting had stopped although the majority of its members went over into the Kosovo Protection Force - said yesterday that they would "avenge every injustice that would be done to the people." They described their terrorist act as a sign of revenge for the killing of two demonstrators and the wounding of 80 Kosovo Albanians in the recent demonstrations staged by the Self-Determination Movement. This movement, headed by Albin Kurti, protested because Ahtisaari's plan did not call for an independent Kosovo right away.


The similarities with the violence of three years ago do not end here. Then as well as now they used the same argumentation in order to step up the adoption of independence under threat of violence and terrorism, and then as well as now, the international officials justified their haste with the ominous hostility that could not easily be kept under control.


Last Friday in the US Congress Foreign Affairs Subcommittee, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the negotiators would be facing a difficult issue and would have to work on the ways to avoid an "explosion."


"We do not want the last piece of the puzzle of uniting Europe along democratic principles to blow up on the issue of Kosovo," Rice said.


Yesterday's message sent by the unexpectedly "revived" OVK wants to stir up such fears. The international forces in Kosovo know they are safe in Kosovo only for as long as the Albanians are extending them their hospitality. "The aim of these explosions was to destroy the UNMIK vehicles, not to cause human casualties, as the UNMIK Police did (during the Self-Determination demonstrations)," the statements issued by the terrorists said.


The two-day violence of the Kosovo Albanians in 2004, when their rage towards the Serbs spilled over and turned on the Kfor troops, compelled UN Secretary General Kofi Anan's special envoy for Kosovo Kai Eide to inform the UN Secretary General that "prolonging the uncertain status of Kosovo should not be an option, in other words, the temporary status of the Kosovo institutions should be terminated and its status should be resolved." Haste in resolving the Kosovo problem was at that time also expressed by US Under Secretary Nicholas Burns, who said that "the people of Kosovo deserve to know what their future will be."


Today this sentence is not used only by civil servants in the US Administration, but it is also one of the arguments used by UN Kosovo Status Envoy Martti Ahtisaari and his deputy Albert Rohan, who themselves give the talks in Vienna virtually no chance at all.


In an interview to the Vienna tabloid Kurier, two days before the start of the negotiations, Rohan announced that there was "little likelihood" of the talks leading to a compromise.


"There is no realistic alternative to the UN proposal, and the continuation of the current situation is impossible," Rohan said and concluded that "without a plan for the future of Kosovo, the two opposing sides would almost inevitably bring the situation to a destabilization of Kosovo, creating disorder that could potentially jeopardize the entire region."


And so the same protagonists used the same formulation and identical methods so as to express dissatisfaction with the slowness of making the necessary decisions. Seeing as how the Western powers have reacted to the Albanian frustrations in the past, yesterday's statement made by the Chief of the US Office in Pristina Tina Kaidanow that "violence of any sort, whether aimed at international organizations, ethnic communities or political groups, will endanger the status process" does not seem very convincing.


Source: Politika, Belgrade, in Serbian 21 Feb 07

KLA letter admitting attack on UNMIK cars sent from Tirana - Kosovo paper

BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - February 23, 2007, Friday

Excerpt from report by Nebih Maxhuni and Jeton Musliu: "UCK letter 'made in Tirana'" by Kosovo Albanian newspaper Express on 22 February

Prishtina [Pristina], 21 February: A letter through which the organization calling itself the Kosova [Kosovo] Liberation Army [KLA] claimed responsibility for damaging UN vehicles in Kosova two days ago was written in Albania. The statement, circulated to Kosovar media, was written on a Tirana computer with IP address, with which it was registered as an internet consumer.

Express sources have said that a computer with that number was used for writing the letter advising that, with the attack on UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] vehicles, the UCK wanted to take revenge for the two people killed during the 10 February demonstration, organized by the Self-Determination Movement. But except for the IP address, it is not known who sent the email or who uses that specific IP.

Only the authorities of Albania's Albtelecom, a company that offers telecommunication, fixed telephony, and internet services in Albania, can identify the user. IP addresses from to belong to Albtelecom. The IP used for sending the email is, meaning that it belongs to Albtelecom. Express made efforts to contact Hysen Hoxha and Vilma Tomaco, officers in charge of IP addresses in that company, to confirm the origin of that email message, but it was impossible to get in touch with them, as neither of them would answer the phone.

In the meantime, it has been learned that the explosive device that damaged three UNMIK and one private vehicle in Prishtina was TNT. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a police source has confirmed this, explaining that 100 grams of TNT was used and that it was activated from a remote control device. "Preliminary investigations show that the device used to damage the UNMIK vehicles was trotil [TNT]," he said. [passage omitted]

Source: Express, Pristina, in Albanian 22 Feb 07 pp 8, 9

13 July 2007

15,000 Serbs protest U.S. policies on Kosovo; leaders warn of instability

Associated Press, Tuesday, February 27, 2007 12:16 PM


BELGRADE, Serbia-Thousands of Serbs rallied against the U.S. policies on Kosovo on Tuesday, as the Balkan country's leaders warned that secession by the province could lead to regional instability.


About 15,000 people chanted slogans outside the U.S. embassy in Belgrade in the largest anti-U.S. gathering here since the fall of the ex-president Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. Protesters accused Washington of being the main advocate of the bid by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority to split the province from Serbia.


The demonstrators, mostly Kosovo Serbs, carried Serbian flags and banners saying "USA World Terrorist" or "Down with Bush."


Serbia has seen a rise in nationalism over Kosovo recently, as talks have continued about a U.N. plan envisaging monitored statehood for the Serbian province which has been a U.N. protectorate since 1999.


The protesters booed and jeered at the mention of the U.N. draft, designed by chief U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari, which proposes that Kosovo be granted its own constitution, national symbols and army. No violent incidents were reported.


The U.S. embassy said in a statement that Charge d'Affaires Roderick Moore met with the protest organizers, and told them that "the U.S., as a democratic country, supports the right to peaceful protest as a legitimate method of free expression."


Moore "also emphasized to the delegation the support of the U.S. for a peaceful and secure future for all the people of Kosovo, including Kosovo Serbs," the embassy statement said.


The United States has praised Ahtisaari's plan, while Serbia's traditional ally Russia opposed it, heralding a possible showdown between the two countries, which both hold veto powers at the U.N. Security Council, when the proposal reaches the council in March.


Illustrating the divide, the demonstrators carried banners praising Russia and posters of President Vladimir Putin.


Serbia has rejected the U.N. plan, saying it would lead to the independence of a region it considers its historic heartland. On Tuesday, top Serbian officials warned that Kosovo's secession also could lead to violence.


"Serbia wants a compromise, we do not want a solution that would lead to escalation of violence or instability in the region," said President Boris Tadic after talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, current chairman of the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.


"We will lead peaceful policies, we will not lead the policies of the 1990s," he added, referring to Milosevic's era which saw four wars in the Balkans, including the one in Kosovo in 1998-99. "But we expect understanding for our bid to preserve the territorial integrity of our country."


In a separate statement after meeting with Moratinos, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said "any imposed solution would have big and serious consequences for stability."


Moratinos said stability in the Balkans was crucial for a stable Europe, urging the Serbian leaders to work on a compromise.


During a visit to Kosovo later Tuesday, Moratinos called on both Serbs and ethnic Albanians to refrain from violence, saying it was "vital that at this crucial moment all people living in Kosovo show political unity and patience."


Serbia has suggested Kosovo be granted full autonomy from Belgrade but remain within Serbia's borders, a proposal promptly rejected by the province's ethnic Albanians.


The uncertainty over the province's future status also has led to tensions in Kosovo.


Associated Press writer Garentina Kraja contributed to this report from Kosovo.

Serbs protest against Kosovo independence

UPI, Feb. 27, 2007


BELGRADE, Serbia, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Thousands of Serbs rallied Tuesday in Belgrade in protest of a U.N. plan on the future status of Serbia's mainly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo province.


Protesters staged a rally outside the U.S. Embassy in downtown Belgrade and a group of Kosovo Serbs had a 45-minute talk with U.S. diplomats, complaining the draft plan would lead Kosovo to independence from Serbia, Belgrade's B92 radio said.


The rally was aimed at telling the world Serbia will never accept Kosovo being independent of Belgrade, organizers said.


Belgrade police estimated some 40,000 people blocked the streets around the embassy, while the Serbian RTS radio-television put the number of protesters at 20,000. Belgrade's B92 radio put the number at 15,000.


Banners displayed on a stage across the street of the embassy said "Russia, help us," and "Kosovo is the heart of Serbia."


The rally lasted for about two hours and ended without incident, RTS said.

Kosovo Serbs to protest in Belgrade against Martti Ahtisaari's plan on Kosovo

FOCUS ENGLISH NEWS (BULGARIA), 27 February 2007 09:19

Belgrade. Kosovo's Serbs are staging Tuesday a protest outside U.S. embassy in Belgrade, the Serbian TANJUG agency reports.

Kosovo Serbs will voice their dissatisfaction with "UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari's plan that leads to an independent Kosovo". Thousands of Kosovo and central Serbian residents will oppose Kosovo's separation from Serbia, the policy that pursues partition of Serbia and people who stand behind this policy, the organizer of the protest and Chair of Serbian National Council for Northern Kosovo Milan Ivanovic told a press conference Monday.

OSCE vehicles damaged in Pec explosion

Radio Television Serbia, Belgrade, Monday, February 26, 2007 19:46


The regional center of the Organisation for European Security and Co-operation has advised that there are no indications that OSCE was the target of an attack in where an explosion damaged seven vehicles belonging to the center, one vehicle belonging to the ombudsman and three private automobiles.


It was determined that a hand grenade exploded in the OSCE parking lot, while another, unexploded grenade was found in the street outside the parking lot.


In a written statement OSCE notes that in addition to material evidence a second explosive device was found on the scene which, however, was not activated and emphasizes that it is too early after the preliminary investigation to conclude who or what was the target of the attack since it occurred in a populated zone.


Representatives of Kosovo police advised that seven OSCE vehicles and two civilian automobiles were damaged in an explosion that occurred at 3:30 a.m. in Pec.

Kosovo Serbs concerned by security situation

Radio Television Serbia, Belgrade, Monday, February 26, 2007 19:46


Representatives of Kosovo Serbs have expressed their concern following the incident in Pec.


Serb List for Kosovo and Metohija president Oliver Ivanovic stated that this was not a random event.


"I am convinced that it prepares the field for demonstrations announced by representatives of the Self-Determination movement for Saturday in Pristina, which could be violent and very dangerous," said Ivanovic.


It appears that UNMIK and KFOR are not doing enough to provide general security and Serbs must take care of themselves. If we take into consideration that similar incidents in the past have remained unsolved, it is completely certain that this one will not be solved, either, said Ivanovic.


It is important that KFOR and UNMIK admit that they are not in control of the situation, he added.


Serb National Council for Kosovo and Metohija vice-president Rada Trajkovic stated that this morning's explosion shows not only "that the full capacities of the Albanian terrorist nucleus in the province have been preserved" but that they have grown even stronger.


The intent of the explosion was twofold and represents a classic example of pressure on the Hague tribunal where former Kosovo premier and one of the former commanders of the KLA in Metohija Ramush Haradinaj departed this morning, said Trajkovic.


"Extremists in Kosovo are therefore using these means to try to dictate the content of the final proposal of UN special representative Martti Ahtisaari, as well as political processes in the province," she added.

Belgrade team submits new amendments to Ahtisaari's proposal



Source: Government of Serbia Date: 24 Feb 2007


Belgrade, Feb 24, 2007 - At the talks on Kosovo-Metohija status in Vienna, the Serbian state negotiating team demands that Kosovo-Metohija becomes an autonomous province within Serbia, governed in a democratic way with a full respect of the rule of law and the multiethnic character of the province's population.


This is the essence of the set of amendments submitted by the Belgrade team to the UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari's proposal for the status of this Serbian province.


Belgrade requests that the entire first paragraph of the "Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement" be erased. This paragraph, dealing with general principles, says that "Kosovo should be a multiethnic society which will through its legal, executive and judicial institutions and with the full respect of the rule of law put its democratic government to practice."


According to the submitted amendments, Belgrade demands that in all provisions the name Kosovo-Metohija be used, whereas in Ahtisaari's proposal the province is simply called Kosovo, and that all solutions be in line with the Serbian Constitution.


The negotiating team proposed that Kosovo-Metohija adopts the constitution which would be completely in line with that of Serbia. It also accepts Ahtisaari's provision that this constitution would guarantee legal and institutional mechanisms needed to ensure that Kosovo-Metohija is governed with the highest democratic standards and to enable peaceful life of all the people there.


Belgrade proposes that Kosovo-Metohija has an open market economy with free competition and that in the interest of its economic recovery and development it establishes economic ties with central Serbia.


The Serbian team demands the deletion of the entire provision on the right of Kosovo to negotiate and conclude international agreements, as well as its right to membership in international organisations.


According to Belgrade's position, it is unacceptable that Kosovo-Metohija gets its own national symbols, including the flag, seal and anthem which reflect its multiethnic character.


The provision saying that Kosovo will not have any territorial aspirations towards other countries or parts of other states and that it will not strive to unite with them should be completely left out of the document, along with the position in which Ahtisaari predicts that Kosovo will fully cooperate with all entities involved in the implementation of this agreement.


The team proposes that based on the Special Agreement with the Republic of Serbia, the international community gets all authority needed to enable a successful and effective implementation, supervision and monitoring of the agreement. It is also specified that Serbia and its autonomous province of Kosovo-Metohija may call on the international community to help the province in performing its obligations.


When it comes to human rights and essential freedoms, it is also demanded that this be brought in line with the Serbian Constitution, as well as that the sentence saying that Kosovo will take all the necessary measures to ratify the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Essential Freedoms be erased from the proposal.


Belgrade accepted the principles on human rights and freedoms without any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, language, religion, political or other affiliation, national or social background or membership in any communities.


The solutions proposed by Ahtisaari dealing with the rights of communities and their members would remain, but with an emphasis on the respect of the Serbian Constitution.


When it comes to the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons, Belgrade demands that the first paragraph be amended so that it says that "all refugees and internally displaced persons from Kosovo-Metohija shall have the right to return home and demand the return of their property and personal belongings in line with the international law and particularly with UN SC Resolution 1244 (1999) and the Protocol on Voluntary and Sustainable Return, concluded between UNMIK, provisional institutions of the local self-government in Kosovo and the Serbian government in June 2006".


As for provisions on missing persons, Belgrade requires the deletion of the article saying that Kosovo and Serbia should strengthen appropriate government institutions in charge of this process, giving them official authorisations, competence and resources necessary for sustaining and enlarging this dialogue, as well as for enabling active cooperation of all competent administrative organs.


According to Ahtisaari's plan, local self-government in Kosovo-Metohija would be founded on the principles of good governing, transparency and efficiency and successfulness of public services.


The Belgrade team thinks that it should also contain additional guarantees and increased competencies in order to protect the interests of the Serbian community and other non-ethnic Albanian communities. This would alter Ahtisaari's position on granting special attention to the specific needs and cares of minority communities and their members.


Municipalities in Kosovo-Metohija would have the right to inter-municipal cooperation and cooperation with all institutions of the Republic of Serbia on issues of mutual interest.


Serbian majority municipalities would have the right to form the Serbian entity in order to ensure safe implementation of all authorisations and competencies.


All solutions regarding religious and cultural heritage are acceptable for the Serbian team, though it is specified that this is all about one of Serbia's provinces.


Belgrade demands that the autonomous province, in cooperation with Serbia, leads economic, social and tax policies necessary for a sustainable economy.


The Belgrade team thinks that movable and immovable property of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or the Republic of Serbia which is on the territory of Kosovo-Metohija at the time of this agreement should remain in Serbia's ownership until Kosovo-Metohija adopts a constitution. Unlike their attitude, Ahtisaari proposed that all property be transferred to Kosovo.


As for security, the Serbian team demands the deletion of the entire paragraph on the formation of professional and multiethnic Kosovo Security Forces (KSB) which would develop into a lightly armed component trained to perform certain security functions.


In line with that, it is demanded that the following paragraph be erased which says that Kosovo will form a special civil government institution for performing civil control over these forces.


Belgrade thinks that the Kosovo security corps should be dismissed within six months, and not twelve, and adds that Kosovo-Metohija will thus become completely demilitarised, with the exception of the International Military Presence (MVP).


All illegal organisations in the security sector in Kosovo-Metohija are to stop their activities at the moment this agreement comes into force.


The constitutional committee shall comprise 21 members from Kosovo-Metohija, however, the Belgrade team demands that Kosovo President appoints 14 instead of 15 members, and that five members be appointed by the Serbian community in Kosovo-Metohija at the municipal level, whereas two members may be appointed by parliament members whose mandates are reserved for other non-majority communities in the province.


Parliament will not be allowed to formally adopt the constitution until a MVP civil representative confirms that it is in line with the provisions of this agreement.


It is also demands that the International Governing Group (MVG) appoints a civil MVP representative whose appointment would be confirmed by the UN Security Council.


The negotiating team demands the deletion of the provision stating that armed forces under NATO will represent the international military presence which would be governed, administered and politically controlled by the NATO through its chain-of-command hierarchy.


Belgrade also demands that MVP cooperates with Serbia's military and police forces whenever necessary.


Another paragraph that should be entirely deleted is the one saying that MVP will be responsible for the development and training of Kosovo Security Forces, and that the NATO will be responsible for setting up a special governmental institution under civil administration that would perform civil control over these organs, not bringing into question the issue of competence of the civil MVP representative.


The Serbian team also demands that a provision be added stating that the sides in this agreement are the Republic of Serbia, the Provisional Self-Government Institutions of Kosovo-Metohija (PISKIM) and the UN. All three sides must accept the agreement in its entirety before it is formally adopted. As subjects of the international law, the signatories of the agreement are the Republic of Serbia and the UN, who are at the same time its guarantees.


In Annex 1 on constitutional provisions, it is demanded that the constitution of Kosovo-Metohija be in line with that of Serbia.


Serbia demands that the province's constitution confirms that Kosovo-Metohija has substantial autonomy within Serbia and that in line with the Serbian Constitution it has jurisdiction regarding the legislative, executive and judicial authorities.


Three more articles were proposed which would confirm that in the execution of these activities Kosovo-Metohija will have autonomy, with the exception of the following jurisdictions reserved for the Republic of Serbia: foreign affairs, border control, monetary policy, customs policy, special customs and inspection control, human rights protection in the last instance and the protection of the Serbian religious and cultural heritage.


The constitution of Kosovo-Metohija should confirm that the free traffic of people, goods and capital will be established between Serbia and the autonomous province of Kosovo-Metohija, as well as other forms of cooperation in areas such as banking, tax policy harmonisation, infrastructure and communications.


According to Belgrade, the provisions from Annex 3 of this agreement should also be included in the constitution.


The Belgrade team also demands the deletion of the article in which Ahtisaari proposes that all citizens of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who lived in Kosovo-Metohija until January 1, 1998, and their direct descendant, be allowed to get the right to the citizenship of Kosovo regardless of their current place of residence and other citizenship they may have.

NATO will not tolerate violence in Kosovo

FOCUS ENGLISH NEWS (BULGARIA), 25 February 2007 15:09

Pristina. Admiral Harry Ulrich, Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and of NATO's Joint Force Command based in Naples, Italy, said Saturday in Pristina NATO would not tolerate any violence in Kosovo, the Serbian Politika newspaper writes.

"NATO's peacekeeping forces in the province will react promptly and firmly in case of any kind of violence, as well as to those who encourage or plan violence," Ulrich said. He agreed with Kosovo authorities' assessment that the demonstrations of the Self-Determination movement were unproductive for Kosovo's future.

New Bomb Attack On International Organizations In Kosovo

DPA, 11:42 AM, February 26th 2007


Several vehicles were damaged Monday in western Kosovo when a hand grenade was thrown in a car park of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


The attack was the second on international organizations within a week, a police spokesman said.


Nobody was injured in the blast in Pec, 80 kilometres west of Pristina, police spokesman Avni Gjevukaj told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.


Following the blast, United Nations authorities in the province ordered all UN vehicles to remain parked only in secured areas "until further notice."


On March 19, a bomb damaged several UN vehicles in Pristina. That attack occurred in the wake of demonstrations which turned violent and ended with two fatalities following a brutal police crackdown.


The organizers of the protest, the radically pro-independence Vetevendosja (Self-determination) movement, has scheduled more protests for March 3.


Unlike mainstream Kosovo Albanian leaders, Vetevendosja rejects the negotiations and wants independence proclaimed immediately.


Meanwhile, the final round of talks between Pristina and Belgrade was due to continue until March 10, under UN auspices in Vienna, with the final proposal due to be drafted by the chief mediator Martti Ahtisaari afterards.


Ahtisaari's draft, revealed early in February, envisages internationally supervised independence for Kosovo.

Albania thanks U.S. for supporting Kosovo plan

XINHUA (CHINA), 2007-02-25 05:35:17


TIRANA, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berishaon Wednesday expressed his full gratitude to the United States for its support of the UN special envoy's plan on the solution of Kosovo's final status.


Berisha told visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rosemary DiCarlo that international community should also consider giving economic aid to Kosovo, which faces poverty, unemployment and other serious social and economic problems.


UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari presented last week a plan in Belgrade and Pristina which Kosovo embraced while Serbia rejected out of hand for the very reason that it would pave the way for Kosovo's eventual independence.


For years, Albania has been the strongest supporter of Kosovo's independence, although it said it had no territorial ambition over the province.

NATO commander for southeast Europe expresses concern over security in Kosovo

Associated Press, Saturday, February 24, 2007 9:08 AM


PRISTINA, Serbia-NATO's commander for southeastern Europe said Saturday the alliance was concerned about recent violence in Kosovo in which two protesters were killed and three U.N. vehicles were bombed.


Adm. Harry Ulrich, commander of NATO's Joint Force Command based in Naples, Italy, pledged a firm response to any more trouble in the province. He called the incidents, which occurred over the last two weeks, "counterproductive and indeed destructive to the future of Kosovo."


The tension comes amid a deadlock in negotiations between Serbian and ethnic Albanian officials over postwar Kosovo's future status and predictions from diplomats that the U.N. Security Council, which will have the final say, may have to impose a solution.


A U.N. proposal, drafted by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, would give Kosovo internationally supervised self-rule, including a flag, anthem, army and constitution.


A final round of negotiations on the plan appears unlikely to produce a breakthrough, prompting concern that extremists on both sides could plunge the territory back into violence eight years after Serb forces and ethnic Albanian separatists fought a war here.


NATO's 16,000 peacekeepers deployed in Kosovo will react "quickly and firmly to any form of violence and to those who incite violence and to those who plan violence," Ulrich said.


"Violence cannot and will not be tolerated," he said after meeting Kosovo's prime minister, Agim Ceku.


Ulrich said NATO was working on proposals on how to create Kosovo's new security force, as called for in the U.N. draft.


Ethnic Albanian leaders, who demand independence from Serbia, have accepted the U.N. proposal, while Serbia rejected it, saying it gives the province virtual independence.


Some among Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority are also angry at the plan, complaining that it does not go far enough in granting the province full independence. Several thousand protesters sharing that view took to the streets Feb. 10 and broke through a police barricade blocking their path toward a government building. U.N. police fired rubber bullets at the crowd, killing two of the demonstrators.


Three U.N. vehicles were bombed on Monday.


Kosovo has been a U.N. protectorate since 1999, when NATO airstrikes ended a Serbian crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians.


Another round of U.N.-brokered talks between ethnic Albanian and Serbian leaders over a U.N. plan for Kosovo concluded with no agreement on Friday in Austria, while the final round of negotiations between the former foes is scheduled to end by March 10.


Ahtisaari plans to submit the package by the end of March to the U.N. Security Council, which will have the final say over Kosovo's future.

Kosovo: Ethnic Albanian rebels claim Pristina bombing



Pristina, 21 Feb. (AKI) - The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which in 1999 started a rebellion against Serbian rule in the southern breakaway province, has taken credit for Monday night's bombings in Pristina in which three United Nations vehicles were damaged, local media reported on Wednesday. The group said the attack was retaliation for the deaths of two two ethnic Albanian demonstrators killed by international police during violent clashes in the Kosovan capital, Pristina, on 10 February


 The KLA was dissolved and reportedly disarmed after Kosovo was put under UN control in 1999, but its former members were absorbed into the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPS), which together with the international police and 17,000 strong NATO force keep order in the province whose majority ethnic Albanians demand independence.


In an Internet message sent to local media, the KLA said it had "reactivated itself" to avenge the deaths of two ethnic Albanian demonstrators killed by international police during violent clashes in Pristina in 10 February organised by a militant ethnic Albanian group Vetevendosje (Self-determination).


"These explosions were aimed at destroying vehicles belonging to UNMIK (the UN administration in Kosovo), not human casualties," the KLA said in a statement whose authenticity could not be verified. "The explosions were perpetrated as a sign of revenge for the killing of two demonstrators and the wounding more than 80," the statement said.


"The KLA will avenge any injustice done to the people," it added.


The bombings took place on the eve of UN sponsored Kosovo status talks which resumed in Vienna on Wednesday after eight previous rounds failed to bring the opposing ethnic Albanian and Serbian sides closer together.


Chief UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari has proposed a solution which would in effect grant Kosovo internationally supervised independence, but militant groups, like Vetevendosje oppose Ahtisaari's arrest and want to proclaim independence unilaterally. Belgrade, on the other hand, opposes Ahtisaari's plan, saying it means the creation of another Albanian state on Serbian territory.


Serbian prime minister Vojislav Kostunica's centre-right Democratic Party of Serbia said in a statement it was "intolerable that Albanian separatists openly threaten with violence on the eve of Vienna talks," and that there was no reaction from the international community. Instead of "awarding terrorists" with granting Kosovo statehood, the international community should bring them to justice and "punish them severely," the statement said.


Belgrade has claimed all along that KLA has never been dissolved and disarmed and was used to apply pressure on the international community for the purpose of achieving independence of Kosovo.

KFOR: No evidence of KLA activities

B92, 21 February 2007 18:15


NIS -- There's no evidence that the Kosovo Liberation Army is still operative, KFOR commander says.


KFOR Commander Roland Cather said the KFOR was ready to respond to any violent action in Kosovo.


Kather met with Zdravko Ponos, Chief of General Staff of Serbian Armed Forces, today in Nis.


Commenting on the recent incident in downtown Pristina and the fact that KLA has claimed responsibility for the blast, Kather said he believed that some other criminal group was behind the bomb attack.


"I have no evidence at the moment to substantiate the claim that Kosovo Liberation Army was indeed to blame. I've talked to all political leaders in Kosovo on the subject and we've all agreed that the some other criminal group was behind the explosion. KFOR will keep monitoring the situation in Kosovo along with UNMIK and the local authorities", he said.


Kather concluded that the overall situation in Kosovo was calm and that the vast majority of Kosovo citizens dreaded violence.


Zdravko Ponos said that Serb Army troops deployed along administrative border with Kosovo had the capacity to control the situation. "I am satisfied that Mr. Kather and I agreed that both KFOR and the Serb Army are well-prepared to secure the border", Ponos said.

Serbian team rejects all provisions of Ahtisaari's proposal contradicting Serbia's integrity, sovereignty



Source: Government of Serbia

Date: 21 Feb 2007


Belgrade/Vienna, Feb 21, 2007 - At the onset of a new round of talks on Kosovo-Metohija's future status taking place in Vienna, the Serbian state negotiating team rejected today all provisions of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari's proposal for Kosovo status settlement which contradict Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.


The negotiating team said in a statement that the team coordinators Slobodan Samardzic and Leon Kojen stressed in an opening statement that only a solution resulting from talks, without artificially imposed deadlines, may lead to a proper agreement and regional stability in the Balkans.


Kojen and Samardzic once again emphasised firm dedication to the search for sustainable compromise and a peaceful solution of the Serbian-Albanian conflict which is the key issue influencing the overall politics and stability in the region.


They also welcomed the possibility UNOSEC offered to the Serbian team in the sense of taking part in consultations on Ahtisaari's proposal, adding that the Serbian team does indeed wish to actively and constructively participate in it.


The statement stresses that the Serbian team will present Serbia's position regarding all aspects of Ahtisaari's plan and especially regarding the main body of the text on general principles which contains ideas and resolutions on which there has not been any discussion previously, or which have not been looked at during the status resolution process.


During today's talks in Vienna, the Serbian delegation rejected all provisions of Ahtisaari's proposal which are not in line with Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and presented alternative solutions based on the idea of internationally guaranteed substantial autonomy of Kosovo-Metohija within Serbia, adds the statement.

Russian FM says no deadline for Kosovo status talks



BERLIN, February 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister said Thursday a UN envoy for talks on Kosovo should not set a deadline for a final decision on the status for Serbia's Albanian-populated region.


Marti Ahtisaari, who has proposed that the Balkan province be given an internationally supervised sovereignty, has said talks are to end by March 10 after which the matter will return to the UN Security Council.


"It is not up to him to decide whether there is still time for making a decision or not," Sergei Lavrov told a news conference after a meeting with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "Mr. Ahtisaari has been fulfilling a UN task, which is to mediate between the parties in the Kosovo conflict."


Lavrov also reiterated that Russia would not try to impose any decisions on Kosovars.


"A decision on Kosovo can only be adopted by the parties involved in the dispute themselves, nobody can impose it on them. Anyway, Russia will not be part of any such scheme," he said.


Belgrade and Pristina held talks on Ahtisaari's proposal in Vienna Wednesday, but no breakthrough was made.


Belgrade has rejected proposals to give independence to the region, which has been under a UN protectorate since 1999 after U.S. air raids conducted to end alleged ethnic cleansing by Serbian troops.


Serbian authorities say they are willing to grant Kosovo broad autonomy, but will never let the province secede from Serbia.


Albanian leaders have said Kosovo's independence is the only option for them.


Lavrov also said only provisions in the UN Kosovo resolution benefiting the Albanian population had been implemented thus far.


"It is no secret that the return of refugees to Kosovo and those ethnic minorities displaced has not taken place except for a minor group. 90% of Serbs, Gypsies and other minorities who once lived in Kosovo cannot return," he said.


The provision on a limited Serbian police force and border guards has not been implemented at all, the minister added.


Russia, a traditional ally of fellow Slavic Serbia and a veto wielding Security Council member, has been opposed to internationally backed plans to grant sovereignty to Kosovo, also arguing it would set a precedent for the breakaway regions in the former Soviet Union it is believed to support: Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Moldova's Transdnestr.

Lavrov reaffirms need for compromise on Kosovo


MOSCOW. Feb 21 (Interfax) - Russia once again reiterates the need for the authorities in Belgrade and Pristina to strike a compromise on the Kosovo problem, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

"I can confirm our position that a solution to the Kosovo issue must be found through negotiations and that both sides must agree with it," he said.

Asked whether Russia is prepared to use its veto if the Kosovo plan unveiled by UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari is placed on the UN Security Council's agenda without Belgrade's consent, Lavrov said that no draft resolutions on Kosovo have been submitted.

12 July 2007

Belgrade, Pristina consent vital for Kosovo settlement - Lavrov


BERLIN. Feb 22 (Interfax) - Any solutions detailing the final status of Kosovo which do not receive the consent of both Belgrade and Pristina are impermissible, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a Thursday press conference in Berlin following negotiations with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

"This is a major problem, and the solution is primarily in the hands of the parties themselves. It is our common goal to encourage their consent. There will be no lasting peace without accord, no matter what decisions are made," he said.

New round of Vienna talks on Kosovo



Source: Government of Serbia

Date: 21 Feb 2007


Vienna, Feb 21, 2007 - Negotiating delegations from Belgrade and Pristina will begin a new round of talks today in Vienna in the course of which they will discuss the "Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement", presented to both sides by UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari earlier this month.


At 10 am at Vienna's Austria Centre the direct talks will commence and Belgrade and Pristina teams will be able to state their objections to Ahtisaari's proposal.


The Serbian delegation will be led by coordinators of the estate negotiating team and advisors to Serbian Prime Minister and Serbian President Slobodan Samardzic and Leon Kojen.


According to the proposed UNOSEC agenda, the first day will concern the general principles from Ahtisaari's proposal which contain articles allowing Kosovo-Metohija to have state insignia.


On the second day the talks will move on to Annexes 1 and 2 which refer to the proposed constitution and the rights of communities and their members, as well as Annex 4 referring to the judicial system.


On February 23 the delegations will state their objections to Annexes 6 and 7 dealing with economy and property issues. This round of talks will continue on February 27 when Annex 3 will be discussed, referring to the decentralisation of Kosovo-Metohija.


The Belgrade and Pristina negotiating teams will discuss Annex 5 on February 28 which deals with religious and cultural heritage, whereas on March 1 the talks will concern Annexes 8, 9, 10 and 11, which refer to the security sector and future civil and military presence in the province.


The talks will conclude on March 2 with a discussion of Annex 12 which contains the agenda for the implementation of the proposal to Kosovo.


The talks on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija should end with the second round at a higher level on March 10 when Ahtisaari will present an altered version of the proposal to both Belgrade and Pristina.


Prior to the beginning of talks, coordinator of the Serbian state negotiating team Slobodan Samardzic stated that the Serbian delegation is under obligation to fulfill the mandate it was given by Serbian parliament and that it will therefore submit a number of amendments to Ahtisaari's proposal.


While entering the Austria Centre, Samardzic told the press he expects that all amendments put forward by the Serbian side be heard, stressing that these talks are a continuation of previous status talks.


He also said that on the first day the Serbian delegation will submit amendments to those articles of Ahtisaari's proposals which jeopardise Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty in Kosovo-Metohija.

Slovak, U.S. positions on Kosovo differ - Kubis

CZECH NEWS AGENCY, Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:01 PM


New York, Feb 21 (CTK) - Slovakia prefers consultations that would bring Kosovo Albanians and Belgrade to the support of the international plan drafted by U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari, but the USA insists on the adoption of the plan despite the disagreement of either of the parties involved, Foreign Minister Jan Kubis told journalists today. Kubis discussed Kosovo with U.S. senior officials in Washington on Tuesday. Kubis said he feared that if both parties did not voice support to the plan, "very difficult developments may appear." The USA "says clearly that even if the plan is not supported by some party, it will be necessary to work with and implement it," he added. According to the USA, the plan must be backed by EU and NATO countries. Or else, the state that would not support the measures, "will bear full responsibility for a crisis development in the Balkans," Kubis said about the American position. The plan for the future of Kosovo gives Kosovo independence in all but name and opens the door to genuine independence for Kosovo. It has been rejected by Serbia and hailed by ethnic Albanians. The idea that Kosovo would become almost independent is opposed by most Slovak parties, both from the government and the opposition. It was only welcomed by the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK). Kubis said that Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried "said clearly in Washington" that any position that would bind the government on the steps to be acceptable only for Belgrade was "harmful."

Serbians, Kosovo Albanians meet for final round of Kosovo talks

Agence France Presse, 21 février 2007 12:54


VIENNA, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP)


Serbians and Kosovo Albanians met Wednesday in Vienna for a final round of talks with UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari over his plan for Kosovo's future, although hopes for a compromise solution were almost nil.


The talks are expected to continue until March 1, after which Ahtisaari will present the final draft of his proposal on March 10 in Vienna, diplomatic sources said.


But few held out any hope that the southern Serbian province's ethnic Albanian majority will strike any deal with the Serbian government or water down their demands for full independence.


Ahtisaari's Kosovo plan, published on February 2, would give Kosovo all the trappings of statehood -- self-government, its own flag and anthem, and membership of international organisations.


It stops short of granting full independence but Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership has welcomed the proposal as vindication of their stance that independence is inevitable some time in the near future.


Belgrade meanwhile insists that Kosovo is an integral part of Serbian territory, the cradle of Serbian culture and religion, and has angrily rejected Ahtisaari's right to meddle in its sovereign affairs.


Under the envoy's plan, Kosovo's government would be overseen by a new European Union-led mission which would take over from the UN, which has administered the province since the end of the Kosovo war in 1999.


The UN envoy is expected to submit his plan to the UN Security Council in mid-March.


"These consultations are one more opportunity for both parties to make their points," Ahtisaari told the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna on Tuesday.


"I am willing to consider constructive amendments and to incorporate compromise agreements," he said.


The Kosovo team in Vienna was led by moderate opposition leader Veton Surroi, Ahtisaari spokesman Remi Dourlot told AFP. Advisers of Serbian President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica represented the Serbian side.


But almost a year since the start of negotiations between Belgrade and Kosovo Albanians in Vienna, Ahtisaari said he was "pessimistic" they could compromise over the future of the tiny territory.


"It regrettably appears highly unlikely that the two parties will be able to reach a compromise on the Kosovo status," he said.


Kosovo Serbs and Albanians remain bitterly divided after the brutal bloodshed of the 1998-1999 war, when Serbian forces battled ethnic Albanian separatist guerrillas and their civilian supporters.


The Serb minority now lives in isolated enclaves under constant threat of reprisals from ethnic Albanian extremists. The flashpoint northern town of Mitrovica is divided along ethnic lines with NATO peacekeepers in the middle.


Belgrade's last hope may be its traditional ally Russia, after President Vladimir Putin said last week he would oppose Ahtisaari's plan in the Security Council if it did not have Serbia's backing.


The Serbian parliament voted overwhelmingly last week to condemn the plan as a violation of the country's territorial integrity.


"We want to be constructive in Vienna, but there will be of course no compromise related to the preservation of our national interest in Kosovo," Tadic's adviser Vuk Jeremic said.


Pristina meanwhile "doesn't see any space for further compromises with Belgrade," Skender Hyseni, the spokesman for the Kosovo negotiating team, said.