26 March 2006

Kosovo status talks to focus on decentralization

XINHUA (CHINA), 2006-02-14 05:39:47


BELGRADE, Feb. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- The first Kosovo's future status talks, due to be held in Vienna on Feb. 20, will focus on "technical issues" relating to decentralization, a spokesperson for UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari said on Monday.


The process of decentralization or "technical issues" such as competencies in the areas of health, justice, police and education will be the main topics of the two-day talks, said Hua Jiang, spokesperson for Ahtisaari, in a statement to the official Tanjug news agency.


Jiang said she could not specify whether the two delegations from Belgrade and Pristina would discuss the topics directly or they would only present their stands.


Legally still part of Serbia, Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since mid-1999. Kosovo's future status has been a bitter subject between Belgrade and Kosovo's Albanian majority who are pushing for independence from Serbia.


The UN-sponsored status talks should have started on Jan. 25, but the talks was postponed due to former Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova's death on Jan. 21.


Other issues relative to decentralization, such as borders of municipalities and financing, would most likely be discussed at later meetings, said Jiang, adding that U.S., EU and NATO observers will attend the talks in Vienna. Enditem