06 February 2007

Kosovo Albanians called on to show patience at crucial period

Deutsche Presse Agentur, Tuesday December 5, 2006


Pristina- Kosovo officials Tuesday called on the region's majority ethnic Albanian population to remain calm in the crucial period ahead of the expected resolution of the volatile province's future status. "We have suffered during the past decades... we don't want others to suffer," Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu said, urging ethnic Albanians to ignore "any provocations" in the coming months.


Hashim Thaci, leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, the largest opposition group, also appealed to the Serb minority to end a boycott of local institutions.


He said that the Serbs should "accept... the reality that their government is in Pristina, not Belgrade."


The United Nations Kosovo envoy Martti Ahtisaari, mediating talks between Belgrade and Pristina since the start of 2006, is expected to present a status solution proposal for Kosovo immediately after the Serbian parliamentary elections, scheduled for January 21.


The talks produced no progress toward a mutually acceptable compromise.


Kosovo has been a virtual UN protectorate since 1999, when NATO ousted Belgrade's security forces from the province to end a bloody ethnic war.


While the Albanian majority living in the breakaway Serbian province is pulling for independence, the Serbian government continues to insist on its sovereignty over Kosovo.