Thursday, 2 November 2006

OSCE Mission to Kosovo delegation visits National Assembly

Chairpersons of the G17 Plus, Democratic Party, and Democratic Party of Serbia deputies’ groups at the National Assembly met on 2 November at Assembly House separately with a delegation of the OSCE Mission to Kosovo, headed by Werner Wnendt, Head of Mission and Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.



Chairpersons of the G17 Plus, Democratic Party, and Democratic Party of Serbia deputies’ groups at the National Assembly met on 2 November at Assembly House separately with a delegation of the OSCE Mission to Kosovo, headed by Werner Wnendt, Head of Mission and Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.
Addressing the heads of deputies’ groups, Mr Wnendt said that his mission was the largest representation in any country (and, indeed, the largest field operation in OSCE history), and had been established to ensure security and co-operation in crisis regions. Although the Mission was not directly involved in negotiations on the status of Kosovo, Wnendt said, it was acquainted with the course of the talks, and was doing all in its power to strengthen and control Kosovo institutions.
Wnendt expressed his conviction that his Mission soon assume duties and responsibilities from UNMIK, which will enable it to safeguard the interests all ethnic communities, supervise decentralisation, and protect religious and cultural heritage. OSCE was, according to Wnendt, also interested in European integration of Western Balkans countries, as well as strengthening stability and democracy in the region.

OSCE delegation members expressed interest in the views of deputies’ groups on the situation in Kosovo and Metohia, as well as their assessment of OSCE’s activities.
The meeting with members of the G17 Plus deputies’ group, Suzana Grubjesic, Zeljko Ivanji, and Goran Jaksic, focused on the political situation in Serbia, primarily the continuation of negotiations on the EU Stabilisation and Accession Agreement. The deputies underscored the importance of resuming direct negotiations on Kosovo and Metohia between the Serbian and the Albanian sides, adding that a solution must be reached through compromise and that it will certainly not be satisfactory for both sides.
Discussion with members of the Democratic Party deputies’ group, Gordana Comic and Dragan Sutanovac, primarily centred on improving human rights for all ethnic communities in Kosovo and Metohia, which would create conditions for quicker acceptance of European values throughout the Serbian province. The deputies said that many obstacles would be overcome once the entire Western Balkans were part of European integrations, which would only be attained when all communities worked on building and strengthening mutual trust.

The chairman of the Democratic Party of Serbia deputies’ group, Milos Aligrudic, and the chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Kosovo and Metohia, Dusan Prorokovic, presented their opinion that Kosovo was still a conflict-ridden society, and that the OSCE Mission was facing a long period of work to re-establish peace and stability. Regardless of any possible solution for Kosovo’s status, security there must be provided by force, to protect the physical security of all its inhabitants, especially Serbs and other non-Albanians, the Serbian delegation said, emphasising that at least basic conditions had to be provided for the return to Kosovo and Metohia of between 200,000 and 250,000 displaced persons. The main issues, in their opinion, were security and economic under-development.
The deputies said that priority issues were the resumption of negotiations on the status of Kosovo and the so-called technical negotiations on decentralisation, sustainable return of displaced persons, protection of religious and cultural heritage, and economic development; all of these issues should be considered together.
The international community and international organisations should simultaneously send signals to both sides that compromise should be sought, ‘instead of unilaterally supporting the Albanian side’, said Democratic Party of Serbia deputies’ group members.



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