12 July 2007

First real negotiations on Kosovo status


Source: Government of Serbia
Date: 20 Feb 2007

Vienna, Feb 20, 2007 - Coordinator of the state team for negotiations on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija Slobodan Samardzic said today that during the new round of negotiations with Pristina, Belgrade will forward completely alternative proposals to the provisions of Martti Ahtisaari's plan that violate Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and international and internal law.

Speaking to the press in Vienna before the start of the new round of negotiations that will last from February 21 to March 2, he said that Kosovo's status will be discussed tomorrow for the first time, but unfortunately on the basis of Ahtisaari's proposal.

He recalled that there was only one meeting on the status in late July last year, but that negotiations were not held then, underlining that Ahtisaari had the obligation, in line with his mandate, to organise more negotiations on the status question.

Belgrade has a clear positive stance. The platform, published on January 5 last year, offers substantial autonomy - a status within Serbia according to all international laws and the Serbian Constitution, Samardzic said and added that the province would have the highest level of autonomy with all competencies and it would organise by itself the spheres of economy and social policy.

Speaking about the position of the Serbian community in Kosovo, Belgrade proposes extended autonomy, broader competencies in several fields - education, social policy, protection of monuments, law enforcement and judiciary.

As for the protection of religious heritage, Belgrade proposes protection zones for 40 locations at which Serbian sacred sites are concentrated.