Monday, November 17, 2008

UN Plan Unacceptable for Kosova: Danger to Sovereignty

15:52 Mon 17 Nov 2008 -

Fifteen Kosovo non-governmental organisations are planning a protest against the six–point UN plan for the deployment of the EU’s controversial law-and-order mission, EULEX. The demonstration has been set for November 19 in Pristina under the slogan, "Demonstrate for a sovereign and democratic Kosovo and against the 6 points!"
According to the organisers, the aim of the protest is the protection of Kosovo’s sovereignty and independence and opposing every initiative for new negotiations on its status.

The organisers asserted that, the six points proposed by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, are not acceptable as they threaten Kosovo’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February and has been recognised by most European Union member states, objects to the plan being based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244. This resolution, passed at the end of the 1998/99 conflict between Serb forces and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority, refers to Kosovo as Serbia’s southern province, not as an independent state.

Serbia insists that the EU cannot deploy a new civilian mission in Kosovo to replace the UN administration unless the mission is neutral in status and does not put into action the plan of former UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari – which envisages internationally-supervised independence for Kosovo.

Belgrade also insists that the mission must be confirmed by the UN Security Council, in which it has a strong ally with veto power – Russia.

The proposal envisages the gradual replacement of the administrative UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which has been in the province since 1999, with an EU civilian mission of police and court officials.

The demonstration on November 19 is set to bring together anti-corruption watchdog, Cohu, as well as the hardline independence movement, Vetevendosje, the Women’s Movement together with other groups.

United States voices strong support for Kosovo Government position
United States State undersecretary for Europe and Asia Daniel Fried has once again affirmed the support for the Kosovo government position. During the press conference in Prishtina this afternoon, Kosovo President said that Kosovo will stand behind the Joint Action Plan created with the international partners on the implementation of Kosovo independence.
Both Kosovo PM and President reiterated that the 6-point plan is unacceptable and that they "trust in the support that the United States will give to Kosovo, as well as the countries of the European Union."
PM Thaçi thanked Daniel Fried and the role of the government of the United States for supporting stability in the Balkan. Thaçi said that "EULEX should be extended on the whole territory of Kosovo. Kosovo independence was a two-year project of the international community. Kosovo has always found ways with its international partners to get out of situations, which others have created for her," concluded Thaçi referring to Serbia.

State Undersecretary Daniel Fried said that they had common support for EULEX deployment throughout Kosovo. Fried focused on the need to extend EULEX deployment throughout Kosovo and only briefly touched on the six-point plan. "

We agreed and understand the position of the Kosovo government and its mandate from February. We have supported Kosovo for many years. The United States have kept their word to the Kosovo people and will do so on the future. Although I do not represent Europe, Europe will also keep her word."

"The future of Kosovo is in Europe, hopefully as a member of the EU. We hope that EULEX is deployed throughout the territory of Kosovo in a satisfactory manner for Kosovo." Fried said that he brought with him NATO's SAUCER commander to prove his support for Kosovo.

Asked how he saw the solution to the negotiations blockade between Brussels and Prishtina, Fried said that the government of Kosovo has supported the EULEX deployment. "EULEX will be deployed in cooperation with the Government of Kosovo in every step of the way" and promised that he would get involved in the negotiations.

Fried said that "if the reformulation of the six-point plan created between Belgrade and the UN would satisfy Prishtina, he would agree with it, but this is not the case, and the UN should have talked to the sovereign government of Kosovo. EULEX is an ambitious plan and the US is part of this mission. I am convinced that the Kosovo leaders are doing their best," said Fried.

On the earlier statements made by US Ambassador to Prishtina Tina Kaidanow supporting the six-point plan, Fried said that Kaidanow was right, however "ultimately, it is the government that takes decisions. Our agreement remains with the sovereign government of the Republic Kosovo," concluded Fried.

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