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Draskovic says Kosovo status process accelerating

BELGRADE, June 19, 2006 (BETA) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic said that UNMIK chief Soren Jessen-Petersen's departure before the end of his mandate means that the process of resolving the province's status is speeding up.

"We must be aware of this fact. Time is running out. We have no time left, and no maneuvering space for any new complicated proposals," Draskovic told the June 18 edition of Vecernje Novosti.

"I think that we need to narrow all of our requests down to two, without going into detail. The first needs to be the full protection of Serbs, accompanied by strong international guarantees. The second needs to be the preservation of the status of our state border with Albania and Macedonia," he said.

Draskovic also said that rumor has it that the U.S. was preparing a new "inter-resolution" to annul U.N. Security Council resolution 1244 on Kosovo. "This practically means that we are facing an acceleration of the process [of determining Kosovo's status], which we will evidently not be able to stop any longer," Draskovic said.

Alexeyev says Russia and Serbia agree on Kosovo

BELGRADE, June 19, 2006 (BETA) - Russian ambassador to Belgrade Alexandar Alexeyev said that Russia and Serbia agree on "all major and general issues" regarding the final status of Kosovo.

In an interview with the June 19 issue of the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti, Alexeyev said that the two countries agree that only the solutions reached in the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina can be acceptable, adding that "attempts at imposing a final solution and its certain segments are only counterproductive."

"Also, the international community must be patient and keep working in a persistent and fair manner on bringing the positions of Belgrade and Pristina closer. When it comes to this, there are no divisions between Moscow and Belgrade," Alexeyev said.

Alexeyev conveyed Moscow's belief that the U.N. Security Council will not deal with the decentralization of Kosovo. The Security Council's task "is to replace Resolution 1244 with a new one, which would determine the status of Kosovo," he added.

Sejdiu and Çeku left for US

PRISHTINA, June 19 2006 (KosovaLive) – Kosovo’s President Fatmir Sejdiu left for US on Saturday.

The President will be meeting with the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other US senior officials. “It will be a special opportunity for this phase of Kosovo’s development,” he said at the Airport of Prishtina.

Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Çeku has also left for US. He will join the President in the meeting with US senior officials and then will attend the UN Security Council session on Kosovo together with the Head of UNMIK Soren Jessen-Petersen.

Solution for Kosovo should improve regional stability, says DiCarlo

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2006 (BETA) - A deputy to the U.S. under secretary of state, Rosemary DiCarlo, stated on June 15 that the solution for Kosovo should improve stability in the Balkans and contribute to the region's integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.

In a report before the Committee for European Security and Cooperation (Helsinki Committee) at the U.S. Congress, with the topic "Human Rights, Democracy and Integration in Southern and Central Europe," DiCarlo reiterated that 2006 was a crucial year for the Balkans.

On the other hand, the chairman of the Institute for Religion and Public Politics in Washington, Joseph Gribosky, told the committee that Kosovo's independence could not and must not be an option because of the absence of "democratic infrastructure" in the province.

Gribosky said the state of religious liberties in Kosovo was judicially and factually unbearable under any international standard, recalling that, since 1999, around 200,000 Serbs have fled Kosovo in fear of violence, and that the Serbs who remain there were practically living isolated in ghettos.

EU will support negotiations on Kosovo

BRUSSELS, June 16, 2006 (BETA) - The draft declaration about western Balkans, which the European Union is to adopt, expressed support for negotiations on the future status of Kosovo, presided over by U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari.

At their meeting in Brussels, which ends on June 16, the EU leaders will call on all sides to engage in the status solving process in a constructive manner.

They will also underline the crucial importance of the better implementation of standards in Kosovo.

"The European Union is prepared to strengthen its role in Kosovo after the status is determined, and will step up preparations, especially in the fields of police, the rule of law and the economy," it was said in the draft declaration.

MPs ask for information on security situation in the north

PRISTINA , June 16, 2006 (KosovaLive) - MPs during Thursday’s session asked from KFOR and police to prepare a report on what it is happening in the northern part of Kosovo, in order it to be able to debate over this issue.

Nekibe Kelmendi, an MP from LDK, initiated approval of a declaration for condemning the arbitrariness of the three municipal assemblies Leposavic, Zubin Potok, and Zvecan, which declared the state of emergency and for freezing of the relations with Pristina .

But the chiefs of the parliamentary groups agreed that the Parliament should come up with a stance on this issue only after receiving a report

Berisha announced honorary citizen of Pristina

PRISTINA , June 16, 2006 (KosovaLive) - Pristina municipal authorities declared Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha a honorary citizen in a special ceremony on Thursday.

The Mayor Ismet Beqiri said that the Municipal Assembly has decided to award Berisha this prize in sign of gratitude for his contribution in promoting of democracy and his continuous support to Kosovo’s independence.

“Pristina is and will be the real face of an independent and democratic Kosovo, and we congratulate you for what you are doing for Albania to become part of the developed Europe,” Beqiri said.

Jessen-Petersen was under influence of Albanians, says Todorovic

BELGRADE, June 16, 2006 (BETA) - A member of Belgrade's negotiating team for the future status of Kosovo, Milorad Todorovic, stated that the outgoing UNMIK chief, Soren Jessen-Petersen, an expert for the internally displaced, has not done much on the return of the Serbs.

"Perhaps the explanation should be sought in pressure of the Albanians, who do not find the return of the Serbs to Kosovo and Metohija in their interest, believing that the fewer Serbs there are, the closer they are to the future status, i.e. the fulfilling of their wishes," Todorovic told London's BBC.

Todorovic said that this stand was "totally anachronous," referring to the changing of a border of an internationally recognized state, to the expulsion of communities and ethnic cleansing, especially since the international community assumed control in the province.

Sanda Raskovic-Ivic to attend U.N. Security Council session on Kosovo next week

BELGRADE, June 16, 2006 (BETA) - The chairwoman of the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija, Sanda Raskovic-Ivic, will participate in the U.N. Security Council session about Kosovo next week.

BETA was told by the Coordinating Center that Raskovic-Ivic will present Belgrade's stand concerning events in and around Kosovo, to members of the Security Council.

At the Security Council's June 20 session, UNMIK chief Soren Jessen-Petersen, who announced that he would resign by the end of this month, will submit a report on the implementation of standards and the situation in Kosovo in general.

Kosovo Premier Agim Ceku will travel to New York with Jessen-Petersen.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan also prepared a report about Kosovo ahead of the Security Council's session, calling on Belgrade and Pristina to reach a compromise in negotiations on the status of the province.

Two British assaulted near Deçan

PRISTINA , June 16, 2006 (KosovaLive) - British Office in Pristina reported that two British Nationals were victims of a shooting incident in Western Kosovo on Thursday morning near Decan. Both are unharmed but their vehicle was damaged.

Brian Jones, the second political secretary in the British Foreign Office told KosovaLive that the incident happened near Deçan, but he was not able to reveal the exact place. He said he was happy that none of the attacked has suffered injuries, except some damages to their vehicle. Jones also said that British Foreign Office in Pristina does not have any idea about the motifs of this attack, adding that they are waiting the police report.

The Head of the British Office, David Blunt has also reacted in connection with the incident. " I strongly condemn this attack on two innocent British tourists. I am greatly relieved that noone was injured. I hope that anyone with information about this incident will inform the police. We must bring to justice people who, with such acts of violence, threaten Kosovo's future as a tolerant, modern European society".

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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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