Monday, October 30, 2006

No links with Serbia

"The state within the package (Express)

Express reports in the leading front-page story that in the Kosovo status package, the UN Status Envoy Martti Ahtisaari has not mentioned the word independence. The paper quotes a senior unnamed Contact Group official who has read the document as saying; “The word independence is not mentioned in the text. However, it is clear that the sovereign competencies that were given in this document have only one meaning: independence with limited sovereignty.”

“This is the future, the way the Finn has projected it. A state with euphemisms. In 53 pages,” the paper elaborates.

Albanians will realise they have gained a handicapped state while Serbs will realise they have lost for good sovereignty over the long-occupied territory, writes the paper in a three-page article. “Nothing unexpected has happened. Both sides, in fact, knew of this outcome, more or less,” the CG official is quoted.

The paper says the international community will continue to remain in Kosovo with competencies in important areas. European Union takes over the sovereignty. A state without a seat in the UN, without foreign ministry and without an army, says the paper but adds that Ahtisaari has found replacement for these three, “using compromise words.”

“The issue of membership in the UN has not been mentioned in the package. However, according to the document, Kosovo has to right to join international organisations. I interpret this as follows: after a while, 1-2 years after the adoption of Constitution, new elections, Kosovo will be in the position to apply for formal membership to the UN,” the source said. The issue of Kosovo having a foreign ministry was also not mentioned in the document but the source said it was clear that the next Government of Kosovo can set up that department. As for the army, it was not mentioned as such is the text but President Ahtisaari makes reference to the Kosovo Security Force which the source said, “is the same thing.” The total number of troops in this force will be 2500 while 800 will be reserve. The source also said that President Ahtisaari did foresee the creation of a Ministry of Defence but that the precise name for it will be “Civilian Led Organisation”.

The CG official said that a part of Kosovo Delegation was shown the first page of the main text which has 44 pages. “This page says, among other things, that your country [Kosovo] should have treaty-making powers, competencies to sign inter-state and international agreements, including membership into international organisations. This is the most important thing for the status,” the source said.

The issue of decentralisation has been closed with the number of new municipalities but the expansion of territories remains an open issue. “Martti Ahtisaari has accepted the final offer of Pristina which had made big and painful compromises,” the source said. It went on to relay what the status package text wrote, “President Ahtisaari has proposed 5+1 new municipalities. It is mainly Kosovo’s proposal. Gracanica, north Mitrovica, Ranillug, Partesh, Kllokot and expansion of Novo Brdo.”

The official said that after the approval of new resolution by the Security Council, the EU will come out with a joint stand. The new resolution will put an end to UNMIK and it will authorise instalment of new international presence – both civilian and military.

The source said that Martti Ahtisaari will be reporting to the UN SC sometime in December or even sooner than that and that the Kosovo and Serbian side will receive status proposals by 10 November, the date scheduled for the meeting of Contact Group and President Ahtisaari.

If, however, Serbia holds parliamentary elections before the end of 2006, Ahtisaari in that case will report to the UN SC in January. “This is the plan. However, Russia will chair the UN SC in January so this issue may be postponed for February which is when Slovakia takes turn,” the CG official said.

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