Belgrade, July 03, 2012
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
ISG: SUPERVISION ENDS, SOVEREIGNTY IN AUTUMN
VIENNA, July 02 (Tanjug) - The International Steering Group for Kosovo (ISG) decided on Monday to end the international supervision of Kosovo's independence, announced that the territory will acquire full independence as of this autumn, and commended the government in Pristina for its intention to "deepen its engagement with the Serb community in the north."
The ISG decided to take final steps towards ending the supervised independence of Kosovo, and closing the International Civilian Office, reads the communiqué of today's meeting in Vienna, adding that the final decision in relation to that is expected at a meeting scheduled for September.
The ISG congratulated the Kosovo government "for its clear support to a democratic and multiethnic state, as evidenced in the passing of the laws and amendments to implement the Comprehensive Settlement Proposal (CSP) package, including laws on cultural and religious heritage, community rights and decentralization."
The ISG also commends the Kosovo government's progress in dealing with the Past and the Language Commission, and recognizes the recently established Mitrovica North Administrative Office (MNAO) as a concrete and welcome step by the Kosovo government to provide services to its citizens in Mitrovica North.
"With this in mind, the ISG has determined that the CSP is substantially implemented and authorizes the final steps to end supervised independence and to close the International Civilian Office (ICO)," the communiqué reads.
"The ISG underscores that the principles and spirit that have governed the CSP need to continue in the period after ending supervised independence. In this regard, the ISG welcomed Prime Minister Hasim Taci's statement confirming Kosovo's ongoing commitment to respect and energetically implement these principles," the communiqué reads.
"The Prime Minister's intention to deepen his government's engagement with the Serb community in the north of Kosovo, and to continue engaging actively in dialogue with Belgrade, were noted with appreciation by the ISG. Similarly, we welcome the Prime Minister's statement that his government will continue its efforts to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo and to thereby support the continuation of EULEX's mandate, including its executive functions, on an appropriate legal basis," it is stated in the report.
"We commit ourselves to continue supporting Kosovo's quest for further international recognitions and its aspirations toward membership of relevant international organizations. We support Kosovo's commitment to its European agenda and welcome the European Union's readiness to assist this process," the statement from the 15th ISG session reads.
According to the report, "Kosovo has implemented the terms of the Comprehensive Settlement Proposal. Based on this Determination, the institutions of Kosovo are now invited to proceed to approve the agreed package of amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and to primary legislation necessary to encapsulate CSP principles and end the supervision of independence."
The mandate of the ICR shall be terminated upon the successful adoption of the necessary Constitutional and primary legislation amendments in accordance with CSP, after a final meeting of the ISG, the communiqué reads.
BOGDANOVIC:INTERNATIONAL FORCES SAFETY FOR SERBS
BELGRADE, July 02 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister for Kosovo Metohija (KiM) Goran Bogdanovic has qualified as good that KFOR and EULEX troops will stay in the province even after the decision to end "supervised independence" of Kosovo, since, as he put it, this would mean greater safety for local Serbs.
"Regardless of animosity the Serbs may feel towards KFOR and EULEX, especially in recent times, they have done a lot to preserve the Serb community and the fragile truce in KiM as much as possible," Bogdanovic told the Belgrade daily Politika. The International Steering Group (ISG) for Kosovo, made up of the countries recognizing Kosovo's independence, decided in Vienna on Monday to end supervised independence and announced full sovereignty of Kosovo for fall.
Bogdanovic stressed that "the international presence is welcome, especially bearing in mind that basic human rights are still being violated in KiM and that Kosovo is still a hotbed of human trafficking and illegal trade in narcotics and weapons," "not to mention that very few displaced persons have returned to Kosovo and that Kosovo institutions have not done anything in that respect, that we have such a situation in the north and that implementation of agreements reached in Brussels is yet to begin," the minister for KiM said. Bogdanovic said that "obviously the countries which recognized the independence of Kosovo want to withdraw as soon as possible since they realized that the socalled state cannot continue to exist in such form." "Four of five years is a long period and they realized they could not do anything in KiM, despite huge amount of money they spent there," he stated.
Asked if the decision might be a signal for the countries which still hesitate whether to recognize Kosovo, he said: "This also is their goal. The message to the countries which have not recognized Kosovo is that Kosovo has matured and can be an independent state, so that they should accept and recognize its independence as soon as possible. This is a very important signal," Bogdanovic concluded.
FEITH: PROBLEM IN NORTH TO BE SOLVED PEACEFULLY
VIENNA, July 02 (Tanjug) - International Civilian Representative Pieter Feith expressed the belief in Vienna on Monday that the northern Kosovo issue would be resolved without violence and partition.
Feith underscored that the northern Kosovo issue would not become a frozen conflict.
During a news conference following the session of the International Steering Committee for Kosovo (ISG) during which officials decided to put an end to the supervised independence, Feith expressed the belief that progress would be made in resolving the northern Kosovo issue although the international representative no longer has any role in the process.
The northern Kosovo issue would be resolved on grounds of three principles, comprising the search for a nonviolent political solution, no partition so that northern Kosovo would still remain within Kosovo, and no possibility of the matter becoming a frozen issue, Feith stated.
According to him, ending the supervised independence is a very important point and the matter should not have been a hostage of the strategy of hardliners from the north.
Serbs in Kosovo who want to get involved in the work of institutions feel much safer than those who opted for a life in isolation, Feith said commenting on the measures the Kosovo government implemented in the north, such as the opening of the administrative office, and expressed the hope that this would be a beginning for the Serbian community and integration into democracy in Kosovo.
The international community helped the Kosovo government set up the institutions, legal framework and defined Kosovo as a modern, multiethnic, European democracy with special guarantees for minority communities.
When it comes to the period after the shutdown of the International Civilian Office, Feith said that representatives of international institutions would continue working in the Constitutional Court, agencies and that the international community would continue counselling the government and institutions.
According to him, KFOR would continue providing a safe environment for the citizens and EULEX would continue counselling the police in the Kosovo courts, while OSCE and specialised UN agencies would also back the society in Kosovo.