24 March 2007

Ahtisaari's proposal on Kosovo status not a binding sketch for solution



Source: Government of Serbia
Date: 04 Jan 2007


Belgrade, Jan 4, 2007 - Coordinator of the state negotiating team on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija Leon Kojen stated today that he is convinced that talks between Belgrade and Pristina on Kosovo's status will be continued even after UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari presents his proposed solution.


In an interview for today's edition of the daily Vecernje Novosti, Kojen said that Ahtisaari's proposal, which should be presented following parliamentary elections in Serbia on January 21, will not be a binding sketch for a solution.


This idea fell through as soon as it became clear there is no consensus on the essential issue either in the Contact Group or among the key members of the UN Security Council, the issue being that of autonomy or independence, said Kojen.


According to Kojen, Ahtisaari will offer one possible answer to this question and then the negotiations will continue. Everyone wishes to reach a solution within a reasonable timeframe since it is unrealistic to artificially prescribe time limits, which has also failed to yield much of a result so far.


He stressed that a new round of talks may be organised in Vienna between Belgrade and Pristina, adding that it is certain there will be bilateral talks between Belgrade and Pristina and key members of the international community.


Kojen added that following parliamentary elections scheduled for January 21, Serbia will be able to continue the politics of reasonable compromise, as well as to concentrate on a dialogue with representatives of countries who are to decide on Kosovo-Metohija's status.


At the beginning of Ahtisaari's mandate, many people both abroad and in Serbia thought that independence is a concluded matter. Today, the situation is obviously different, said Kojen and stressed that a new resolution in the UN Security Council cannot be reached unless Russia and China on one side and western forces on the other reach agreement.


As long as Russia claims it will place a veto on a solution not acceptable for Belgrade, I do not believe that western countries in the Security Council will formally propose a resolution that would open the doors to independence of Kosovo-Metohija, said the state negotiating team's coordinator.


Kojen stressed that unlike Belgrade, who is putting forward strong arguments, the ethnic Albanian side is solely threatening with violence unless the province is given independence.