22 August 2006

Serbia want Kosovo's Municipalities To Have Links To Belgrade

Serbia insists on strenghtening competence of municipalities with Serb majority population

Belgrade, Aug 21, 2006 – Coordinator of the Serbian negotiating team for talks on Kosovo political status and advisor to the Serbian Prime Minister Slobodan Samardzic said that Belgrade insists on strengthening the competence of future and current municipalities with a Serb majority population in Kosovo.
Slobodan Samardzic
In a statement to the Tanjug news agency, Samardzic said that Belgrade's proposal is complex since it begins with this issue and added that if the talks yield good results in this respect, the number of new municipalities can be determined afterwards.Prior to the arrival of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari to Pristina tomorrow, Samardzic said that the number of new municipalities, together with the existing ones where Serbs are a majority, will make no sense on its own, unless the competence of municipalities increases.The media in Pristina broadcasting in Albanian announced that Ahtisaari's team had sent a proposal for decentralisation to the Pristina team last week, which limits the right of central institutions to suspend the decisions made by municipal assemblies.Ahtisaari's proposal does not specify the number of municipalities with a Serb majority population which are to be formed but the possibility of increasing their number is left open.During the talks in Vienna, Belgrade has so far insisted that the competence of these municipalities be broadened in the health, education, judicial and police sectors, that they be enabled to have direct links with Serbia and that 12 new municipalities be formed. Pristina, on the other hand, offered five new municipalities and the expansion of an existing one, the municipality of Novo Brdo.