Friday, September 23, 2005

Kosovo[Kosova] governor urges status talks

NEW YORK -- Friday – The UN and its members understand that Kosovo can’t remain under UN administration for ever and so will probably approve the beginning of discussions on the final status of Serbia’s southern province, the head of the UN Mission in Kosovo, Soeren Jessen-Petersen, said today.

The Kosovo governor, speaking in New York where the General Assembly is sitting this week, said that Kosovo has made enough progress for talks to begin.

Jessen-Petersen says that sufficient progress has been made in meeting the eight standards set by the international community, including steps towards democracy and multiethnicity. At the same time, he insisted, none of the standards have been fully met and a long road still lies ahead for Kosovo.

“I’m convinced that discussions on the status of Kosovo will be under way by the end of this year. I think that it is more and more clear that this is the process, that progress has been made, and that there is still a lot to do,” he said.

The governor said that he expects the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for the implementation of standards, Kai Eide, to recommend by the end of the month that status talks began.

Jessen-Petersen’s comments reflect a growing consensus that discussions should get a green light although the standards have not yet been fully met.

The governor himself says there is growing awareness that the province can’t stay in its present twilight zone and called on the government to think differently about how progress can be made in the region.

It’s no longer acceptable, six years after the UN Security Council established an international protectorate in the province, to continue maintaining Kosovo as a UN operation, he said.

“I think that there exists what we could call a degree of flexibility in understanding what progress is,” he added.
B92 and other Kosova Media.

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