Monday, August 6, 2007

Is Kosovo compromise possible?

BELGRADE, PRIŠTINA -- Swiss constitutional law expert Thomas Fleiner believes that Kosovo compromise can be reached if new talks prove to be open.

“As long as the U.S. and dominant EU countries insist on Kosovo’s independence, Priština will not be ready to truly negotiate,” Fleiner, who acted as Belgrade’s negotiating team adviser, told Blic daily.

He said it was impossible to predict when the final decision on the province’s status will be made, but that the solution should not be expected in the short term.

“Whoever knows the history of the past several hundred years, must be aware that a solution will not be made in the next two to three months, or for that matter in the next 120 days, as some expect,” Fleiner told the newspaper.

Speaking about his involvement, Fleiner said no offer to continue as the Belgrade team adviser in the process was made so far.

According to him, the upcoming talks should focus on solutions to improve the living and legal conditions for the residents in both Kosovo and Serbia proper.

“The status issue is mainly a point of prestige,” Fleiner concluded.

Batt: Kosovo and Serbia must divorce

Judy Batt of the Institute for Security Studies in Paris says it is too late for a compromise between Belgrade and Priština, and advocates “a clear divorce” as the best solution.

“We are very worried that indefinite stalling of the status decision could lead to increased tensions in the region. This could jeopardize the whole strategy to stabilize the region and accelerate its movement toward EU integrations,” Batt said.

She believes a perspective of a Palestine-like permanent crisis in the middle of Europe is bad.

Stressing that the EU needed to see a clear status for Kosovo in order to speed the integration both of the province and Serbia itself, Batt said she was pessimistic about the outcome of the upcoming talks.

“As things stand today, it is hard to see the basis of a compromise between such rigid, dug in positions. I fear that we will not have made a single step forward after 120 days.”

“I don’t see Serbia’s ‘more than autonomy, less than independence’ formula as a compromise solution. It is merely an excuse to indefinitely prolog the status quo,” Batt believes.

“Independence is minimum”

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Agim Ceku says Priština will not negotiate over Kosovo’s independence and territorial integrity in the upcoming talks on the province’s future.

“Independence is the only option and no one can force us to accept anything else,” Ceku said.

He described independence for the province as “a minimum” demanded by the Kosovo residents.

He added that Kosovo’s territorial integrity will not be a subject of talks.

(Source :

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