11 March 2006

Albanians protest UN-backed Kosovo talks



Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Date: 20 Jan 2006


PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro, Jan 20, 2006 (AFP) - About 100 Kosovo Albanian protesters let the air out of the tyres of dozens of UN vehicles here Friday to signal their displeasure with planned status negotiations with Serbia.


The protest was conducted by the Self-Determination movement, which opposes any form of negotiation with the Serbian government over the future status of the breakaway southern province of Kosovo.


"The goal of this action is to punish UNMIK (the UN mission in Kosovo) and its administration, which is unacceptable for Kosovo's people," said Glauk Konjufca, a representative of the group.


"We are trying to paralyse their system which is not democratic and which is enforcing the decentralisation" of local power, said Konjufca.


Police confronted the activists in the centre of Pristina but nobody was detained. The group said in a statement later that one of its members suffered serious injuries during the incident, while about 40 UN cars were targeted.


In November, the UN's special Kosovo envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, began a mission to resolve the status of the province, which legally remains a part of Serbia.


Direct talks between Belgrade and Pristina are scheduled to be held in Vienna next week.


Topping the agenda in the talks will be the decentralisation of power, meaning the transfer of competencies to minority Serb enclaves in the province as a precondition for creating a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo.


The province became a UN protectorate in 1999 after NATO bombing ended a Serbian crackdown against separatist Albanians who took up arms against the regime of then Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic to demand independence.