16 November 2006

Ambassador Bissett: Ahtisaari is not negotiating, he is imposing a solution for Kosovo independence

Radio Television Serbia, Belgrade, Saturday, November 4, 2006 14:58


Member of the American Council for Kosovo and former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia James Bissett has stated that the UN facilitator for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari is not conducting negotiations but merely imposing a solution for Kosovo independence.


In a statement for Radio Free Europe, Bissett emphasized that he is very disappointed with Ahtisaari's work because, in his words, the Finnish diplomat "has guided negotiations from the very beginning in such a way that there is no other solution except independence for Kosovo".


"I believe this would represent a violation of the United Nations Charter and current international norms with respect to the preservation of the territorial integrity of countries. Borders can be changed only with the mutual acquiescence of both sides, not on the basis of a diktat by the former Finnish president, the International Crisis Group or the USA," underscored Bissett.


"I assume that the USA will insist on Kosovo receiving independence and that is is probably unavoidable but the consequences will be very serious and they will undermine the stability of the Balkans," assessed the (former) ambassador of Canada to Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Bissett warned that the evenutal independence of Kosovo and Metohija will result in similar demands "by Albanians in the Presevo Valley and in Macedonia".


"This can cause problems in the Balkans because if Kosovo gets independence, why then should Serbs in Bosnia be prevented from annexation to Serbia? The way matters stand it appears that the international community is allowing border changes everywhere except in cases where this would benefit the Serbs," said Bissett.


Translator's note: Mr. Bissett's statements were translated from Serbian.