Slovak president criticizes UN plan for Kosovo

Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic on Friday criticized a U.N. plan for the future of Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo, describing it as disadvantageous for the government in Belgrade.

"It is impossible in the 21st century to create an agreement with provisions that are advantageous for one party and disadvantageous for another," Gasparovic said in a broadcast by the Bratislava's TA3 TV.

Last week, U.N. envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari presented a plan that proposes internationally supervised statehood for the separatist Serbian province.

Gasparovic suggested that "the final solution for Kosovo should be postponed, and the province should remain under international supervision," pending a compromise between ethnic Albanians and Serbs.

Slovakia is a member of the European Union and NATO. It maintains a battalion as part of the NATO peacekeeping mission in the province.

Kosovo has been administered by the U.N. and protected by NATO since a 78-day NATO-led air war that halted a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in 1999.

Ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million people, are seeking independence from Belgrade. But Serbia and Kosovo's Serb minority say the province is the heart of Serbia's ancient homeland and should remain within its borders.

"After NATO's invasion of Serbia that was staged to protect Kosovo Albanians the (Western) allies forgot about the protection of Serbs," Gasparovic said.

On Thursday, Jan Slota, the head of the nationalist Slovak National Party, labeled Ahtisaari's plan as a "pile of trash" and compared it with the 1938 Munich agreement that allowed Nazi Germany to invade former Czechoslovakia just before WWII. Slota's party is part of the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Robert Fico.

[Source: Herald Tribune, Bratislava, Slovakia, 09Feb07]

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