Friday, April 07, 2006

EU officials and Balkan Prime Ministers meet in Bucharest

One of the leading stories in the Kosovo daily press is the meeting European
Union officials and the Balkans’ Prime Ministers had in Bucharest.
Most papers report that the South-Eastern European countries have in principle agreed to cooperate in free trade.
Kosovo was represented at the summit by Prime Minister Agim Çeku and
UNMIK chief Søren Jessen-Petersen. The meeting was also extensively covered
by Kosovo’s public broadcaster, RTK.

Most dailies focus on the statement that PM Çeku gave after the meeting in
Bucharest. Koha Ditore quotes the PM as saying that it is better for Serbia to choose Europe than Kosovo.
“Belgrade repeats in Bucharest that Kosovo’s place is within Serbia’s
framework. Whereas Pristina responds by saying that Belgrade should
better focus on European integration than on Kosovo, because it has already lost Kosovo and it risks losing its place in Europe, too,” the paper elaborates.

Similar to Koha Ditore, Express also carries the message that Serbia should
choose between Kosovo and Europe. The paper also quotes the Kosovar PM
as saying that Serbia is offering extreme solutions for Kosovo, which are not
in line with international principles.

Zëri quotes PM Çeku as saying that Kosovo will be a stable state for all its citizens.
“There is no strong argument against what we offer and guarantee
to the Kosovo Serbs, and what we guarantee to the international
community, and this is that Kosovo will be a stable state for all,”
the PM told journalists in Bucharest.

Asked on what the Kosovo Government has done to protect the rights of Serbs
in Kosovo, the PM said that nothing could be done overnight. “This cannot be
done overnight, but Kosovar authorities are creating a climate where
coexistence prevails,”he added.

Dailies also pay a lot of attention to the address by UNMIK chief Søren Jessen-
Petersen who said that Kosovo must be an integral part of inter-regional cooperation.

“Kosovo – like every other place in the region – must, in order to
prosper, be an integral part of regional co-operation in general,
and of trade in particular,” said the SRSG, describing Kosovo’s
participation in the event “as a symbol of its status as a regional
partner, and as a first step on the road to unfettered trade –
and with that the political co-operation that must necessarily follow”.
The SRSG also noted the significant role of CEFTA in promoting “not only
trade, but also other forms of cooperation, most notably in respect of
preparing its constituent parties for membership of the European Union”. He hoped that CEFTA will play a similar role as it extends into South Eastern Europe, where the states striving for EU accession “are fated to cooperate politically just as they are fated to work together economically”.

On behalf of PM Çeku, the SRSG stressed the commitment of the Provisional
Institutions of Self-Government in Kosovo (PISG) to fulfilling the conditions of
involvement in the CEFTA process. “And we in UNMIK are committed to
supporting them [the PISG] – for the benefit of all citizens in Kosovo, and of
the wider region,”the SRSG said.

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