Monday, November 14, 2005

Kosovo can survive economically without Serbia

Prishtina-Kosovo[Koha Ditore]
Under this front-page headline, Koha Ditore carries an interview the Austrian
diplomat Albert Rohan, who is Martti Ahtisaari’s deputy, gave to Vienna-based
newspaper ‘Die Presse’.

Rohan said that during the first stage, there will be no formal talks before achieving
some sort of an agreement. “Formal talks make no sense before achieving a form of
agreement. Otherwise we will only have a conference in which both sides will repeat
their stance.”
Rohan said that over the next two to three weeks the negotiators will travel to Pristina
to talk to Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs. “Albanians will present their requests
for independence, but our message will be: before talking about models of the future
status, they should tell us what they plan to do to resolve many problems and issues,”
Rohan said, adding that Albanians should find an answer to the following questions:

a) status of Serbian and other ethnic groups;
b) protection of Serbian churches and
c) fight against crime and corruption.

During the interview, Rohan said that in Kosovo’s case there will be no conference of
Dayton-type like for Bosnia, when all sides got closed in an air base until they reached
an agreement.
Rohan added that Kosovo Serbs will be told that they should send their representatives
to the existing Kosovo institutions and take active part in talks, in order to prove that
they want a future in Kosovo.
The next stage, according to Rohan, continues in Belgrade, where there will be talks
with Serbian leaders about their objectives. “The goal is that participants draft
solutions themselves,” he said in another statement for APA, adding that the
negotiations team will also visit Montenegro, Albania and FYROM during November
to see the views of all sides.
“Only in the next round of talks in January we will talk about the collected views.
There is no set timeframe for the negotiations, while regarding the method, the UN
envoy has a free hand,” Rohan said.
“Die Presse” wrote according to Koha Ditore that the Contact Group has authorized
Ahtisaari to show the ‘red card’ to the politicians that hinder the political process and
send out of the game the blocking sides. However, Rohan has said that he is against
imposed solutions. “We want to achieve a solution that is acceptable for all sides”, he
Asked whether Kosovo can survive economically without Serbia, Rohan said that
according to the World Bank it is possible, and he stressed according to the paper that
Kosovo has rich mineral resources that could fill up half of the budget.
In a statement for APA, Rohan said that in case negotiations do not lead to a solution,
then the UN Secretary General will be informed about it, and in that case the
international community will need to find a solution.

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