Monday, January 09, 2006

UK Ambassador: UK Supports both Belgrade and Pristina

British Ambassador to Belgrade David Gowan said in an interview to the Serbian
daily Politika that when in comes to Kosovo, the British answer to “the question”
is already known, i.e. thatKosovo’s independence is one of the options that should

be taken into account.

“Of course, there are also some other proposals, including the Serbian one.
However, the issue of status is now something for Ahtisaari to
discuss with all sides in the process, with both Belgrade and Pristina, with both
the Albanian and the non-Albanian people of Kosovo. Kai Eide’s report is a
solid basis for Ahtisaari and his team. I am convinced that this very
experienced and capable statesman, who enjoys exquisite reputation and trust,
will lead the negotiations in the best possible way. This job will not be an easy
one, but I think that answers to many seemingly insoluble issues will be found
along the way. The important thing is that the process has already started, and
also that the implementation of standards will still be important. Now with
these two things going together, it will be easier. It is our duty to extend our
support to both Belgrade and Pristina. Besides Ahtisaari’s team there are also
many other teams working side by side on this issue - the EU, the Contact
Group, the OSCE and the UN,” said Gowan. Responding to the interviewer’s
comment that it seems that one side enjoys more support than the other, the
British Ambassador said that the world could not just forget what Milosevic did
in Kosovo in 1999: “Of course, an evil should not be cured by some other evil.
Interests of Kosovo Serbs must be protected. When the Serbian Government
invokes resolution 1244 in order to refute any indication of Kosovo’s
independence, it should also bear in mind that the international law, as any
other law, is implemented in accordance with the reality on the ground. Now
the main thing that we have to address is how to organize the local authorities,
how to ensure security for all citizens of Kosovo, how to continue with
decentralization, how to actively engage all sides in this process and how to
avoid division of Kosovo. That would be a mistake,” assessed Gowan.

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