Monday, September 24, 2007

Serbia offers Kosovo internal autonomy

Iran's PRESS TV reports that Serbia is going to offer a solution to the Kosovo issue which will be acceptable to all sides in the upcoming direct negotiations in New York.

"Our proposal offers internal independence to Kosovo, or an opportunity for the ethnic Albanians to manage their own lives," Serbian negotiation team member Goran Bogdanovic was quoted as saying.

He pointed out that Serbia would not interfere in the running of its southern breakaway province where ethnic Albanian majority account for 90 percent of the two million population, unless it is asked to. He also promised all matters concerning Serbs' education, health care and social policy would remain in place.

He said the Serbian negotiating team had "paid great attention to satisfy all concerned parties - ethnic Albanians, Kosovo Serbs and Serbia, the European Union, Russia and the United States" in designing the proposal.

"Our suggestion means decentralization for Kosovo. Serbia would preserve its sovereignty and its border would remain unchanged, and in the meantime, the EU principles would prevail in Kosovo," Bogdanovic said.

He added that the international community has every reason to feel satisfied too, because Serbia's proposal will surely lead to peace and stability in the region and beyond, which is everybody's priority.

The upcoming direct negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina are the first in the negotiating process over the status of Kosovo. The talks will be held on the sidelines of the session of the 62nd UN General Assembly in New York.

Kosovo has been under UN control since mid-1999 after NATO forces drove out Serbian forces fighting Albanian rebels, who ask for complete independence of Kosovo, while Serbia wants to keep it within its border.