01 April 2006

Kukan warns against unilateral pressure on Serbia in Kosovo case

CZECH NEWS AGENCY, Feb 28, 2006 3:38 AM


BRATISLAVA, Feb 28 (CTK) - The international community should not exert unilateral pressure on Serbia over the independence of Kosovo, Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan said at a press conference today.


He admitted that he does not know any concrete recipe to solve the Kosovo problem. He did not rule out that the Serbs and the Kosovo Albanians may strike a compromise that would be acceptable to both sides, with "clenched teeth" at least.


Most of Kosovo Albanians want the province to become independent, which the Serbs find unacceptable.


"A solution should emerge as a result of agreement between the two negotiating parties. A unilateral or forced-upon solution would be a failure of the international community," Kukan said.


He said he disagrees with the position of the USA and Britain that already speak about independence.


According to Kukan, Kosovo should not be an example for minorities in other countries that could start claiming independence just as Kosovo Albanians have done.


"This would be a very negative development," Kukan said.


He pointed to Russia's apprehensions. "What about Abkhasia, Ossetia, Chechnya? Will they also be independent countries?" Kukan asked.


Kukan also expressed dissatisfaction with what he considers meagre opportunities for Slovakia to influence the Kosovo negotiations. Slovakia is neither a member of the contact group for Kosovo nor is it represented in the team of Martti Ahtisaari, the U.N.'s chief negotiator, though it originally applied for participation.


"That is why we are offering Bratislava as the venue of possible negotiations on any level," Kukan said.


According to analysts, Kosovo is one of the few matters on which Slovakia's position differs from the U.S. and the EU's.