12 November 2006

Resumption of negotiations urgent


Source: Government of Serbia
Date: 21 Oct 2006

Belgrade, Oct 21, 2006 - Member of the state team for negotiations on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija Aleksandar Simic has said that Serbia reminds Marti Ahtisaari that according to his mandate he should continue negotiations and do his work, and not find excuses, such as saying that the internal situation in Serbia makes negotiations impossible.

Speaking for the daily "Vecernje Novosti" Simic said that he expects that in today's talks between Ahtisaari and the Contact Group, the Contact Group will recommend to the UN Special Envoy to intensify talks.

He pointed to the fact that Ahtisaari was obliged to schedule new talks according to the statement of the Contact Group from the 20th September meeting, because it is expressly said there that Belgrade and Pristina should resolve conflicts through dialogue, and that dialogue has not taken place for more than a month and half.

Commenting on the opinion of the Belgrade team that Serbia's international position has improved, Simic stressed that that conclusion is based on the position of many member countries of the Contact Group, but also on Ahtisaari's behaviour.

The statement of the Contact Group on 20th September in New York did not favour those who expected that the process of establishing the status of Kosovo-Metohija will be accelerated, and above all ethnic-Albanians, who thought that they will soon get independence, explained Simic.

Simic said that the position taken by Ahtisaari and his team shows that they are confused. He added that prior to the adoption of the Constitution by Serbian parliament and the announcement of the referendum they said that during October there will be talks on a minimum of two issues - the question of property and legal rights, and according to Stefan Lehne, the question of rights of communities.

According to Simic, following that indirect information came from Marti Ahtisaari and Albert Roan that the talks will not be held in October and have been postponed due to the referendum, and it was also hinted that the delay will continue until elections are held in Serbia, which have not even been scheduled yet.

This shows that they are confused and that the UN Special Envoy and others, particularly separatists in the province, were disappointed, since they expected to achieve their aims this year, said Simic.