Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/kosovo : Kosovo Negotiations to Conclude in 2006, Says Un Mediator

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/kosovo : Kosovo Negotiations to Conclude in 2006, Says Un Mediator

Article excerpt

A proposal to settle the status of Serbia's UN-administered province of Kosovo is still expected to be submitted by next month, UN-appointed mediator Martti Ahtisaari confirmed on 9 October in Helsinki, according to Reuters. He stressed that Kosovo's status will be decided by the end of the year, as per the original schedule set in Vienna last February.

The statement appears to draw a line under the speculation about a potential delay that followed Ahtisaari's statement from last week, in which he suggested that his plan on the future of the UN-administered province might have to wait until after parliamentary elections in Serbia, due to be held in December. Ahtisaari was given the go-ahead to draft his own plan for Kosovo's status two weeks ago.

Ahtisaari's comments last week were followed by statements from Britain and the US, which confirmed that they are seeking a decision this year on whether Kosovo will become independent or remain a full part of Serbia. The Commission's spokesperson for enlargement says that the Commission fully supports Ahtisaari's efforts and still expects the agreement to be reached by the end of the year. British, US and EU officials are concerned that any delay in the negotiation process could spark violence by ethnic Albanian extremists, who are pressing for full independence for Kosovo. Meanwhile, the Serbian government is supported by Russia in its efforts to preserve the unity of the country.

Serbia's new constitution, which gives Kosovo substantial autonomy, was adopted by parliament on 30 September, ahead of the date set by the international community. …

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