13 July 2007

Belgrade team submits new amendments to Ahtisaari's proposal



Source: Government of Serbia Date: 24 Feb 2007


Belgrade, Feb 24, 2007 - At the talks on Kosovo-Metohija status in Vienna, the Serbian state negotiating team demands that Kosovo-Metohija becomes an autonomous province within Serbia, governed in a democratic way with a full respect of the rule of law and the multiethnic character of the province's population.


This is the essence of the set of amendments submitted by the Belgrade team to the UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari's proposal for the status of this Serbian province.


Belgrade requests that the entire first paragraph of the "Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement" be erased. This paragraph, dealing with general principles, says that "Kosovo should be a multiethnic society which will through its legal, executive and judicial institutions and with the full respect of the rule of law put its democratic government to practice."


According to the submitted amendments, Belgrade demands that in all provisions the name Kosovo-Metohija be used, whereas in Ahtisaari's proposal the province is simply called Kosovo, and that all solutions be in line with the Serbian Constitution.


The negotiating team proposed that Kosovo-Metohija adopts the constitution which would be completely in line with that of Serbia. It also accepts Ahtisaari's provision that this constitution would guarantee legal and institutional mechanisms needed to ensure that Kosovo-Metohija is governed with the highest democratic standards and to enable peaceful life of all the people there.


Belgrade proposes that Kosovo-Metohija has an open market economy with free competition and that in the interest of its economic recovery and development it establishes economic ties with central Serbia.


The Serbian team demands the deletion of the entire provision on the right of Kosovo to negotiate and conclude international agreements, as well as its right to membership in international organisations.


According to Belgrade's position, it is unacceptable that Kosovo-Metohija gets its own national symbols, including the flag, seal and anthem which reflect its multiethnic character.


The provision saying that Kosovo will not have any territorial aspirations towards other countries or parts of other states and that it will not strive to unite with them should be completely left out of the document, along with the position in which Ahtisaari predicts that Kosovo will fully cooperate with all entities involved in the implementation of this agreement.


The team proposes that based on the Special Agreement with the Republic of Serbia, the international community gets all authority needed to enable a successful and effective implementation, supervision and monitoring of the agreement. It is also specified that Serbia and its autonomous province of Kosovo-Metohija may call on the international community to help the province in performing its obligations.


When it comes to human rights and essential freedoms, it is also demanded that this be brought in line with the Serbian Constitution, as well as that the sentence saying that Kosovo will take all the necessary measures to ratify the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Essential Freedoms be erased from the proposal.


Belgrade accepted the principles on human rights and freedoms without any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, language, religion, political or other affiliation, national or social background or membership in any communities.


The solutions proposed by Ahtisaari dealing with the rights of communities and their members would remain, but with an emphasis on the respect of the Serbian Constitution.


When it comes to the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons, Belgrade demands that the first paragraph be amended so that it says that "all refugees and internally displaced persons from Kosovo-Metohija shall have the right to return home and demand the return of their property and personal belongings in line with the international law and particularly with UN SC Resolution 1244 (1999) and the Protocol on Voluntary and Sustainable Return, concluded between UNMIK, provisional institutions of the local self-government in Kosovo and the Serbian government in June 2006".


As for provisions on missing persons, Belgrade requires the deletion of the article saying that Kosovo and Serbia should strengthen appropriate government institutions in charge of this process, giving them official authorisations, competence and resources necessary for sustaining and enlarging this dialogue, as well as for enabling active cooperation of all competent administrative organs.


According to Ahtisaari's plan, local self-government in Kosovo-Metohija would be founded on the principles of good governing, transparency and efficiency and successfulness of public services.


The Belgrade team thinks that it should also contain additional guarantees and increased competencies in order to protect the interests of the Serbian community and other non-ethnic Albanian communities. This would alter Ahtisaari's position on granting special attention to the specific needs and cares of minority communities and their members.


Municipalities in Kosovo-Metohija would have the right to inter-municipal cooperation and cooperation with all institutions of the Republic of Serbia on issues of mutual interest.


Serbian majority municipalities would have the right to form the Serbian entity in order to ensure safe implementation of all authorisations and competencies.


All solutions regarding religious and cultural heritage are acceptable for the Serbian team, though it is specified that this is all about one of Serbia's provinces.


Belgrade demands that the autonomous province, in cooperation with Serbia, leads economic, social and tax policies necessary for a sustainable economy.


The Belgrade team thinks that movable and immovable property of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or the Republic of Serbia which is on the territory of Kosovo-Metohija at the time of this agreement should remain in Serbia's ownership until Kosovo-Metohija adopts a constitution. Unlike their attitude, Ahtisaari proposed that all property be transferred to Kosovo.


As for security, the Serbian team demands the deletion of the entire paragraph on the formation of professional and multiethnic Kosovo Security Forces (KSB) which would develop into a lightly armed component trained to perform certain security functions.


In line with that, it is demanded that the following paragraph be erased which says that Kosovo will form a special civil government institution for performing civil control over these forces.


Belgrade thinks that the Kosovo security corps should be dismissed within six months, and not twelve, and adds that Kosovo-Metohija will thus become completely demilitarised, with the exception of the International Military Presence (MVP).


All illegal organisations in the security sector in Kosovo-Metohija are to stop their activities at the moment this agreement comes into force.


The constitutional committee shall comprise 21 members from Kosovo-Metohija, however, the Belgrade team demands that Kosovo President appoints 14 instead of 15 members, and that five members be appointed by the Serbian community in Kosovo-Metohija at the municipal level, whereas two members may be appointed by parliament members whose mandates are reserved for other non-majority communities in the province.


Parliament will not be allowed to formally adopt the constitution until a MVP civil representative confirms that it is in line with the provisions of this agreement.


It is also demands that the International Governing Group (MVG) appoints a civil MVP representative whose appointment would be confirmed by the UN Security Council.


The negotiating team demands the deletion of the provision stating that armed forces under NATO will represent the international military presence which would be governed, administered and politically controlled by the NATO through its chain-of-command hierarchy.


Belgrade also demands that MVP cooperates with Serbia's military and police forces whenever necessary.


Another paragraph that should be entirely deleted is the one saying that MVP will be responsible for the development and training of Kosovo Security Forces, and that the NATO will be responsible for setting up a special governmental institution under civil administration that would perform civil control over these organs, not bringing into question the issue of competence of the civil MVP representative.


The Serbian team also demands that a provision be added stating that the sides in this agreement are the Republic of Serbia, the Provisional Self-Government Institutions of Kosovo-Metohija (PISKIM) and the UN. All three sides must accept the agreement in its entirety before it is formally adopted. As subjects of the international law, the signatories of the agreement are the Republic of Serbia and the UN, who are at the same time its guarantees.


In Annex 1 on constitutional provisions, it is demanded that the constitution of Kosovo-Metohija be in line with that of Serbia.


Serbia demands that the province's constitution confirms that Kosovo-Metohija has substantial autonomy within Serbia and that in line with the Serbian Constitution it has jurisdiction regarding the legislative, executive and judicial authorities.


Three more articles were proposed which would confirm that in the execution of these activities Kosovo-Metohija will have autonomy, with the exception of the following jurisdictions reserved for the Republic of Serbia: foreign affairs, border control, monetary policy, customs policy, special customs and inspection control, human rights protection in the last instance and the protection of the Serbian religious and cultural heritage.


The constitution of Kosovo-Metohija should confirm that the free traffic of people, goods and capital will be established between Serbia and the autonomous province of Kosovo-Metohija, as well as other forms of cooperation in areas such as banking, tax policy harmonisation, infrastructure and communications.


According to Belgrade, the provisions from Annex 3 of this agreement should also be included in the constitution.


The Belgrade team also demands the deletion of the article in which Ahtisaari proposes that all citizens of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who lived in Kosovo-Metohija until January 1, 1998, and their direct descendant, be allowed to get the right to the citizenship of Kosovo regardless of their current place of residence and other citizenship they may have.