Monday, October 24, 2005

Slovenian President explains his plan for Independent Kosovo

Independence is the only realistic option for Kosovo[Kosova], provided that certain conditions are fulfiled, President Janez Drnovsek told the press on Wednesday.He said Kosovo could become independent if the Serbian minority is given appropriate security guarantees, if it gets appropriate autonomy in Kosovo institutions and if Serbian cultural and historic landmarks in the province are protected.

"The time has come to clarify the political status of Kosovo," Drnovsek said, adding that Slovenia was willing to offer its services. What is more, Slovenia carries special responsibility as the only EU member state from the former Yugoslavia. Drnovsek therefore believes Kosovo status talks should take place in Slovenia: the first step would be an informal meeting of all the parties involved and the international community. This would improve communication and establish trust. Such an informal meeting would not represent any burden or raise expectations about concrete results which only formal negotiations can arrive at, the president thought. The nine-point plan put forward by President Janez Drnovsek is a "legitimate initiative of a head of state, which is informal and is an attempt to find a solution for the final status of Kosovo", Prime Minister Janez Jansa has said. Given that this is an informal proposal and that it has not been debated by the Slovenian government or parliament, the response from Serbia-Montenegro officials is "somewhat exaggerated", Jansa told public broadcaster Radio Slovenija on Friday.

Moreover, Jansa said that the government had not been acquainted with Drnovsek's plan, which the president sent to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday. According to Jansa, there has been no deterioration in relations between Slovenia and Serbia-Montenegro. Drnovsek said he had already presented this proposal to representatives of the international community and ambassadors of the countries which make up the Kosovo contact group. President Janez Drnovsek has addressed a letter to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, offering Slovenia as the venue for preliminary, informal talks on a final status for Kosovo.

Nine-Point Plan

Drnovsek's nine-point plan for Kosovo envisages that the international community would transfer all powers to Kosovo authorities in 18 months, during which time general and presidential elections would be held.

Kosovo would get its international legal personality in five years, provided that the international community concludes that fundamental democratic standards are being respected. Until then, international forces would stay in the province.

The EU and international institutions would draw up an economic programme for Kosovo and form appropriate legal instruments to promote development. That way Kosovo would be economically independent in five years, Drnovsek's office said in a press release.

The international community would ensure the protection of the Serbian minority, and protect the most sacred Serbian cultural, historic and religious monuments, which would be granted ex-territorial status.

Serbian communities would be self-governed, and Serbs would get guaranteed representation in parliament and government.

The Kosovo plan laid out by President Janez Drnovsek was received with interest by Kosovo officials, Ivo Vajgl, Drnovsek's foreign policy advisor, told STA after talks in Pristina. Vajgl presented the plan, which was met with a cool response in Serbia earlier in the day, to PM Bajram Kosumi, Parliament Speaker Nexan Daci, head of the opposition PDK Hasim Thaqi, advisor to Kosovo president Salih Caca and deputy head of the UNMIK Larry Rossin. He said his hosts labelled the plan as a good basis for the start of Kosovo status talks. F.F
Slovene Press Agency

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