04 December 2006

Ceku Rebuffed By Moscow

KiM Info Newsletter 01-12-06
Kosovo: Ceku Gets Cold Shoulder in Moscow Over Independence
Moscow, 30 Nov. (AKI)
Kosovo prime minister Agim Ceku got a cold shoulder from Russian leaders on Thursday in an effort to rig support for independence of the province which has been under United Nations control since 1999. Ceku's visit got a low profile treatment, aimed not to offend Belgrade, which opposes independence of the province in which ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs by 17 to one. He met with deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov and president of the foreign policy committee of the Russian parliament, Konstantin Kosacov, but failed to get Moscow's commitment for independence.
Kosacov suggested that the dispute should be solved in direct negotiations with Belgrade and offered Moscow's support in "establishing direct dialogue". He said unilateral proclamation of independence, without Belgrade's consent, would be a "dangerous precedent, contrary to European standards established after the Second World War". Kosacov told journalists, after meeting with Ceku, that these standards don't allow the change of state borders without the consent of all involved.
He actually echoed Belgrade's stand that any change of borders, or unilateral recognition of Kosovo independence, would destabilize the entire region and violate the UN Charter. "Russia could help in establishing such a dialogue which would lead to a compromise that would satisfy the Serbian and the Kosovo side," he said.
Belgrade has no authority in Kosovo since its forces were pushed out of the province by NATO bombing in 1999 and is offering ethnic Albanians a large autonomy. But ethnic Albanian leaders have said they would settle for nothing short of independence, hinting they might even resort to violence to achieve that goal.
Kosacov said Ceku has repeatedly stated the interest "to maintain open and constructive relations with Serbia, but only as two sovereign states". Titov said the search for a compromise solution, based on the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 should remain the basis for solving the Kosovo dispute.
Resolution 1244, which put Kosovo under UN control with strong international civilian and military presence, states that Kosovo is officially a part of Serbia. But the international community has been gradually moving towards granting Kosovo independence and, after eight failed rounds of negotiations, it is expected to make a final status decision early next year.
Russia is the only member of a six-nation Contact Group for Kosovo that has openly opposed.
Russia stresses need for negotiated, mutually acceptable solution on Kosovo's status
Associated Press: Thursday, November 30, 2006 1:34 PM
MOSCOW-Russian diplomats and lawmakers told Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku on Thursday that Moscow wants an agreement on the breakaway Serbian province's status to be carefully negotiated and acceptable to Serbia.
Ceku's visit to Moscow came amid a U.N.-mediated effort to determine the status of the province and Russian warnings that independence could set a precedent for Russian-backed separatist regions in the former Soviet Union.
In a meeting with Ceku, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov emphasized that Belgrade and Pristina must seek "an effective, negotiated solution" to the dispute and stressed he need for continued international efforts to find "mutually acceptable outcomes," the Foreign Ministry said.
Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO bombing ended a crackdown by Belgrade on separatist ethnic Albanian rebels. The majority ethnic Albanians want independence, but its Serb minority and Belgrade want Kosovo to remain part of Serbia.
Russia, which shares Serbia's Slavic, Orthodox Christian background, sharply opposed the bombing and has stressed the need for a solution on status that suits Serbia. It has also paid close attention to the treatment of Kosovo's Serb minority.
Titov told Ceku that Pristina must abide by international norms on the treatment of ethnic minorities, provide for the return of Serb refugees to Kosovo and prevent extremist violence in the province, the Foreign Ministry statement said.
Ceku also met with members of the lower parliament house's international affairs committee. Its chairman, pro-Kremlin lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev, said legislators called for direct talks between Pristina and Belgrade and offered to mediate in "a dialogue to negotiate promises acceptable to both sides," the Interfax news agency reported.
President Vladimir Putin and other officials have said the determination of Kosovo's status could set a precedent for separatist regions in former Soviet republics, suggesting that the international community could not ignore the independence claims of regions such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which broke away from control of the central government in Georgia in wars in the early 1990s.
Kosovo Albanian PM says no Serbia accord
MOSCOW, Nov. 30 (UPI)
Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian prime minister says no compromise can be reached with Belgrade on a future status of the Serbian province.
Kosovo interim Prime Minister Agim Ceku, in Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Ministry officials, Thursday said though Belgrade claims Kosovo is an integral part of Serbia, the arrangement is impossible, the Serbian news agency Tanjug reported. Ceku told reporters ethnic-Albanians do not want Belgrade govern Kosovo any longer, Tanjug said.
However, a Russian statement on the talks with Ceku said it is essential Serbian authorities in Belgrade and leaders of ethnic-Albanians work toward a compromise on Kosovo's future.
Martti Ahtisaari, the U.N. envoy chairing the Kosovo talks, is expected to announce early next year a decision on who will govern Kosovo once U.N.
administrators and NATO troops leave the province.
The Belgrade government, representing 100,000 Serbs who live in Kosovo, says the province will always be part of Serbia, while leaders of ethnic-Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's 1.8 million population, insist on independence from Belgrade.
Kosovo Premier Leaves for Moscow Carrying Albanian Passport Pristina, 30 Nov. (Tanjug)
Kosovo Premier Agim Ceku has left for Moscow carrying an Albanian passport, the media in Pristina reported on Thursday, adding that a group of Kosovo journalists, who accompanied the premier, had been returned from the airport in the Russian capital because of their improper papers.Russia does not accept the documents issued by UNMIK, stated Ceku’s spokesperson Ulpiana Lama. Ceku has a Croatian citizenship, and receives Croatian retirement, and has Croatian passport, but he applied and obtained Albanian passport.