Serbian prime minister lashes out at U.N. envoy for Kosovo talks
By Agim Ceku

Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica lashed out Sunday at the U.N. envoy mediating the talks on the future of Kosovo, accusing him of failing to condemn "terrorist attacks" against minority Serbs in the breakaway province.

"The Serbian government is demanding to know why ... Martti Ahtisaari has not yet condemned the terrorism by (ethnic) Albanian separatists in Kosovo," Kostunica said in a statement to media.

The statement followed an incident Friday in which unknown suspects blew up railway tracks in Kosovo on a route used by minority Serbs there. No injuries were reported.

Belgrade promptly attributed the blast to ethnic Albanian separatists.

Kostunica said that as a special U.N. mediator for Kosovo, former Finnish President Ahtisaari has a "strict responsibility to instantly condemn every form of threat, especially terrorist attacks such as blowing up a railway line."

He added, "So far, Ahtisaari has been unable to escape his own prejudice and has severely accused the entire Serb nation while mutely watching the terrorist Albanian separatists carry on."

Although still formally part of Serbia, Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since a NATO 1999 airwar ended a crackdown by Belgrade on separatist ethnic Albanian rebels.

Kosovo's Albanian majority — about 90 percent of the province's 2 million population — wants to establish an independent state, while Serbia has insisted Kosovo remain part of its territory.

Kostunica has intensely campaigned on the Kosovo card, playing to Serb nationalist sentiments that the province — which Serbs consider the cradle of their medieval statehood — is an inalienable part of Serbia, and that any secession would go against the United Nations charter.

The Serbian prime minister has stepped up his criticism of Ahtisaari, who plans to present a proposal for a Kosovo resolution early next year. So far, Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders and Belgrade officials have produced no results in talks to settle the dispute.

The United States and Western powers expect the upcoming U.N. ruling — which will follow Ahtisaari's proposal — to result in conditional independence for Kosovo, despite Serbia's objections.

Serbia's pro-Western President Boris Tadic reiterated those objections, saying Sunday that "no normal country would give up a part of its territory," but acknowledged "the probability is greater that Kosovo will become independent."

"Every citizen knows this, and I have no right to deceive anyone," Tadic said. "But I shall fight to the last moment so this will not happen."

[Source: International Herald Tribune, Belgrade, Serbia, 10Dec06]

Tienda de Libros Radio Nizkor On-Line Donations

HR in Kosovo
small logoThis document has been published on 05Feb07 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.