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Belgrade advocating fundamental autonomy, says Raskovic-Ivic

NEW YORK, June 21, 2006 (BETA) - The chairwoman of the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija, Sanda Raskovic-Ivic, stated at the June 20 session of the U.N. Security Council in New York that Belgrade was advocating fundamental autonomy for Kosovo, within the internationally recognized borders of Serbia.

Addressing the ambassadors of Security Council member countries, Raskovic-Ivic said Serbia was fully prepared to assume its part of responsibility in the process of successful solving of the Kosovo issue, on the basis of international law and in accord with democratic values of the modern world.

Raskovic-Ivic believes that the U.N. envoy for negotiations, Martti Ahtisaari, does not have much room, but that there is still room for compromise.

"This narrow space for a solution lies between the pre-1999 state in Kosovo and Metohija and independence. Mr. president, independence is not a compromise, independence is only complete indulgence of one of the two stands," Raskovic-Ivic said.

She explained that Serbia was opposing any changing of borders, and that any "either-or" solution, which would make one side a winner and the other a loser, would not be good. She said the Belgrade negotiating team, the political and wide public in Serbia, were deeply convinced that the solution must be found through negotiation and that it must not be imposed, but also that the two sides had to engage much more in the process and prepare for alternatives.

Jessen-Petersen: Progress is evident; solve status as quickly as possible

PRISHTINA, June 21 2006 (KosovaLive) - The Head of UNMIK Soren Jessen-Petersen said in his report in New York that Kosovo has marked a significant progress, and asked UN Security Council to think for an as quick as possible status for Kosovo.

“When the time on taking the decision for Kosovo will come, the war victims will be those who will benefit mostly,” said Jessen-Petersen.

He evaluated that Kosovars want that, whereas added that Kosovo Serbs still continue to make obstructions and boycott participation in Prishtina’s institutions. This, according to him, has made some Serbs to live with the sense of fear and isolation.

He also called on Belgrade to stop its pressure on Kosovo Serbs. “At this time a large number of Serbs would like that their voice is heard in Kosovo’s Government, but they do not do it because Belgrade is not allowing them,” emphasized Jessen-Petersen.

US and UK for a status in accordance with the will of Kosovo people

PRISHTINA, June 21 2006 (KosovaLive) -The United States and the United Kingdom said at the UN Security Council session in New York on Tuesday that Kosovo status should not be delayed, and that it must de in accordance with the will of Kosovar people.

US representative to SC, John Bolton said that there will be no return to 1999, there will be no division of Kosovo or union of Kosovo with any other state. He said that Kosovo should be multiethnic and that it final status should be settled in accordance with the will of Kosovar people.

Bolton highlighted the progress made in Kosovo as well as the efforts of the Kosovar representatives for more success in all institutional areas. However he said that there is still more to be done in the future.

Bolton expressed his appreciation to President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Agim Çeku for their commitment to the return of Serbs.

Dedaj: Some of ministers have their place in prison

PRISTINA, June 20, 2006 (KosovaLive) - After the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), the Liberal Party of Kosovo (PLK) has also asked for forming of a broad based technical government, adding that some of Ceku’s ministers place is in Dubrava Prison.

The Chairman Gjergj Dedaj said at a press conference in Pristina that there is a lack of democratic functioning of institutions, and we should make changes if we want to get out of the current situation.”

Dedaj called the Prime Minister to report in at the Parliament for his Government’s 100 days in office. “We have noticed many failures during this period and we ask from the prime minister to come and report for his Government’s 100 days in office, because some of the ministers are behaving as if the ministries are their private properties,” he said and added that it will diminish Kosovo’s image in the eyes of the international community./

Vetëvendosje activists released

PRISTINA, June 20, 2006 (KosovaLive) - The leader of Vetëvendosje Albin Kurti told KosovaLive that all Movement activists, jailed ten days ago, have been released.

Kurti stressed that they have not hired lawyers, “because we do not recognize the courts which operate within UNMIK Pillar I.”

“We had no physical maltreatments in the prison, but there were pressure and provocations. Although all know that we are launching campaign for boycotting Serbia’s products, we were offered meals with the food produced in Serbia.”

U.N. Security Council on Kosovo today

BELGRADE/NEW YORK, June 20, 2006 (BETA) - The U.N. Security Council will hold a session devoted to Kosovo in New York on June 20, where outgoing UNMIK chief Soren Jessen-Petersen will talk about the implementation of standards.

Head of the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija Sanda Raskovic-Ivic will convey the Belgrade authorities' stand on Kosovo to the ambassadors of the Security Council member states. Before departing for New York, she told journalists that she will warn the participants in the session about the possibility of a "domino effect" and destabilization of the whole Balkans and other parts of Europe if Kosovo gains independence.

Jessen-Petersen, who will step down as chief of international administration in Kosovo by the end of June, announced that he will inform the Security Council of the progress made in Kosovo, stressing that the situation in the province has improved after the appointing of new officials in the temporary institutions -- the presidency, Cabinet and Assembly. The session in New York will also be attended by Kosovo Premier Agim Ceku.

According to U.N. special envoy Martti Ahtisaari, the opening of a direct dialog between Pristina and Belgrade on the future status of Kosovo is expected in mid or late July.

Ceku, Sejdiu discuss democratic Kosovo with Rice

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2006 (BETA) - The Kosovo leaders, during talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington on June 19, said that they were working on building a modern, multi-ethnic Kosovo.

"We want Kosovo to become a normal country," Kosovo Premier Agim Ceku told journalists after the talks, in which Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu also participated. Ceku said that he and Sejdiu had assured Rice they were capable of running a stable, democratic state, but had added that Kosovo needed help from the U.S.

Before the meeting, the State Department announced that the Kosovo leaders must create a relationship of trust with the minorities. Ceku said that the majority of the Kosovo population understood that "it is in their best interest to help the minorities."

Çeku: Kosovo is capable of self government

PRISTINA, June 20, 2006 (KosovaLive) – Kosovo’s Prime Minister Agim Çeku said in his weekly radio address on Monday that Kosovo is fully capable and responsible to govern itself.

Addressing the citizens, Çeku said that the Government has scored many results over those 100 days, in particular in fulfillment of standards. “Tomorrow is UNSC meeting on the assessment of the progress made in Kosovo and we will show to the international community that we have made a lot of progress in the area of standards,” he said

“We have made a lot of progress during this period, in particular in establishment of the democratic institutions, defending and promoting the property rights, economic rights, economic development, and in enhancing interethnic dialogue and communication,” Çeku said.

Speaking over the situation of security, the Prime Minister said that there no real risk for Kosovo in this regard. “The situation of security is under control. But there is only a political effort to create a kind of artificial, aiming at causing fear among the citizens and at provoking the citizens of Kosovo.“

He called on citizens to be vigilant and not to fall victims of those provocations at this decisive period for Kosovo.

Rehn: Participation of Kosovo in regional processes is very important

PRISTINA, June 20, 2006 (KosovaLive) – Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has expressed EU support to the countries of the Balkans in building better relations, and in the meantime he has evaluated participation of Kosovo in the regional integration processes as very important.

Rehn made those comments on Monday at the European Fund for South East Europe (EFSE), the Ministry of Trade and Industry reported through a press release.

Kosovo at the conference was represented by the Minister Bujar Dugolli who had separate meetings with senior officials in Brussels, including Commissioner Rehn, Director of the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) Richard Zinc, and EU Director for Asia, Central and Eastern Europe Klemens van de Sand.

Dugolli also met at the Conference with his counterparts from Serbia and Montenegro. This afternoon, he will be meeting with Leopoldo Rubinacci from EU DG Enterprise, Alexandros Yannis from the Counil of Europe (CoE), Laurent Guy and Mary O’Mahony from the Stability Pact, and Doris Pack from the European Parliament.

The European Commission launched a €60 million participation in the EFSE. EFSE is a Luxemburg investment fund set up to support private sector development in the countries of the Western Balkans. To this end, EFSE extends credit lines to banks and micro finance organizations of the region.

Draskovic requests protection of Kosovo Serbs

GENEVA, June 20, 2006 (BETA) - Speaking before the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 19, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic called for the protection of the rights of the Serbs and other minorities in Kosovo and for respect of Serbia's international borders.

"Serbia asks the Human Rights Council to take the stand that the rights of the Serbs and other non-Albanians must be protected immediately and unconditionally with international guarantees, and that the existing borders of internationally recognized states cannot be changed against the will of the states involved," Draskovic said.

The Serbian foreign minister was one of the speakers at the first session of the newly formed U.N. body tasked with ensuring a more efficient protection of basic human rights and freedoms.

Speaking about Kosovo before more than 150 U.N. member-countries, Draskovic stressed that "more than 220,000 Serbs, Roma, Turks, and other non-Albanians have been expelled from the province over the past seven years."

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Speech by Don Shan Zefi, Chancellor

Opening of Interfaith Conference on Peaceful Coexistence and Dialogue
Monastery of Pec Patriarchate
Peja / Pec, May 2 - 3, 2006

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