Kosovo PM Thaci: UN Plan ‘Dead’

November 21 2008

By Vjosa Musliu

Hashim Thaci - photo by Petrit Rrahmani

Hashim Thaci – photo by Petrit Rrahmani

Pristina _ A Serbia-backed plan on the future of the European Union mission in Kosovo, EULEX, is “dead” and the Kosovo government’s own four-point plan is the only one on the table, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said on Friday.

In an interview for Radio Kosovo, Thaci repeated Pristina’s rejection of the six-point plan proposed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Kosovo’s Albanian majority feels that plan would roll back the country’s progress since it declared independence from Serbia in February and give Belgrade a firm legal foothold especially in renegade Serb areas in Kosovo’s north.

“The  ‘six points’ are totally unacceptable,” Thaci said. “Now Kosovo has its own four points, creating the perspective for EULEX to deploy all over Kosovo.”

Kosovo’s own proposal insists on the unconditional deployment of the EULEX mission as based on the blueprint for Kosovo’s supervised independence devised by former UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari. Serbia rejects the Ahtisaari plan and has vowed never to give up its claim on its former southern province.

Thaci, who traveled to London this week, added Britain supported the deployment of EULEX throughout Kosovo’s territory, including the Serbian minority areas where it now has no presence.

After the meetings with Thaci and Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, a spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for constructive talks on the future of EULEX, and  Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was “impressed” with Kosovo leaders’ commitment to the Serbian minority in Kosovo.

Kosovo has been recognised by most European Union countries and by the United States, but the new state’s backers are not speaking with one voice on the specifics of its path to full statehood.

Washington broadly favours Kosovo’s proposal as a basis for the deployment of EULEX, while EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he supports the six-point plan but will respect and consult the government of Kosovo as a sovereign state.

After meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on Thursday, Solana is expected to meet Ban Ki-moon on Friday to discuss the plan, the further reconfiguration of UNMIK and the deployment of  EULEX.

Far from the diplomatic bustle, EU officials already on the ground in Kosovo are continuing preparations for when the 2,000-strong mission formally takes up its mandate, which focuses on law and justice issues.

“Deployment is going well. EULEX will be ready by the beginning of December,” EULEX spokesman Victor Reuter said in Pristina. “We are ready to perform our mandate from that moment.”

After nine years as wards of the UN, Kosovo Albanians thought independence would bring closure to the 1998-99 war, court foreign investment and deliver higher living standards.

With political and economic progress coming at a halting pace, many are losing patience with the international community and their own leaders and some groups have called for the U.N. and EU to pull out altogether and let Kosovo take full charge of its own affairs.

Prominent Kosovo editor Veton Surroi on Friday accused the government of complacency in putting together their ‘four-point plan’, and warned that the new EU mission may not be functional even if deployed across Kosovo’s territory, because of the “parallel institutions created by Serbia” in the north.

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