Ban’s Kosovo plan angers both Belgrade and Pristina

June 14th, 2008 - 1:23 am ICT by IANS  

DPA
Pristina/Belgrade, June 13 (DPA) A Kosovo leader Friday accused UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of refusing to recognise Kosovo’s independence. A day earlier, Ban had revealed his plan to “reconfigure” the UN administration which governed Kosovo to accommodate EULEX, a law-enforcing mission the European Union (UN) deployed to help Pristina after it declared independence from Serbia in February.

In letters to the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Boris Tadic and Fatmir Sejdiu, Ban stressed his proposal was “status-neutral” meaning he neither backed nor denied Kosovo’s move.

“Neither the UN Secretary General, nor anyone else should be afraid of ‘prejudging’ the political status of Kosovo,” said the speaker of the Kosovo parliament, Jakup Krasniqi.

“The status of Kosovo is resolved, determined by the will of its people,” he told DPA in Pristina. “Kosovo is an independent and sovereign state. No one can change that.”

At the same time in Belgrade, caretaker Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica dismissed Ban’s plan as “unacceptable”, calling it an effort to open a back door to EULEX thereby solidifying Kosovo’s independence.

“The purpose of EULEX is to implement independence of Kosovo,” Kostunica said in a statement. His Kosovo minister, Slobodan Samardzic, stressed that only the Security Council has the authority to alter the nature of the UN mission in Kosovo.

But the council, which deployed the UN mission to Kosovo after NATO ousted Serbian security forces in 1999 ending repression of the Albanian majority, remains deadlocked over Kosovo.

The Western powers have recognized Kosovo, but Russia backs Serbia’s claim over the province and is blocking recognition in the UN.

Ban acknowledged that he had “no guidance” from the Security Council, which has yet to discuss his Kosovo plan.

Serbia is in the midst of murky coalition negotiations following the May 11 snap election, which was triggered by the collapse of the ruling coalition.
DPA

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