Internationale organisationer International organizations
Verdensbanken, IMF m.fl. World Bank, IMF etc.
OSCE, Europarådet OSCE, Council of Europe (CoE)
EU European Union (EU)
ICTY - Tribunalet i Haag ICTY
Balkan, generelt The Balkans
Kosóva Kosóva [Kosovo]
Øst Kosóva / Presevo-dalen / Syd-Serbien Eastern Kosóva
Serbien Serbia-Montenegro. Serbia
Makedonien Macedonia [FYRoM]
USA United States (US)
Danmark (Norge, Sverige) Denmark (Norway, Sweden)
Vienna High-level meeting concludes 14 months of talks on the future status process for Kosovo
Special Envoy says that potential of negotiations for Kosovo status is exhausted, decides to finalize his proposal for submission to the UN Security Council in March
Vienna - Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari today chaired in Vienna a High-level meeting concluding 14 months of negotiations on the future status process for Kosovo. Belgrade delegation was led by President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Pristina´s Team of Unity was led by President Fatmir Sejdiu. Representatives of the Contact Group, EU and NATO also participated in the meeting.
The meeting, which came after two weeks of intensive consultations on the proposal for a comprehensive Kosovo status settlement, provided the parties another opportunity to clarify their positions and narrow their differences.
"Today's meeting has concluded the negotiations held over the last 14 months, during which my team, with strong support from the international community, has engaged both parties in 17 rounds of direct talks and 26 expert missions to Belgrade and Pristina," the Special Envoy told the press after the meeting.
He went on to say that "I regret to say that at the end of the day, there was no will from the parties to move away from their previously stated positions", adding: "I had hoped, and very much preferred, that this process would lead to a negotiated agreement. But it has left me with no doubt that the parties' respective positions on Kosovo's status do not contain any common ground to achieve such an agreement. No amount of additional negotiation will change that. It is my firm conclusion that the potential of negotiations is exhausted."
The Special Envoy underscored that a sustainable solution of Kosovo's status is urgently needed, saying that "a solution will not only be in the interest of the people in Kosovo, but also of vital importance for the regional peace and stability. Delaying the status resolution would not create any better conditions for a solution - it would only be for the sake of delaying a difficult decision".
Calling his proposal a "realistic compromise", the Special Envoy expressed his intention, following today's meeting, to finalize the proposal for submission to the UN Security Council in the course of March.
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) of 10 June 1999, by which the Council decided to establish the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and requested the Secretary-General to report at regular intervals on the implementation of the mandate. It covers the activities of UNMIK and developments in Kosovo (Serbia), from 1 November 2006 to 19 February 2007.
II. Political assessment
2. My Special Envoy for the Future Status Process for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, and his team continued consultations with Belgrade and Prishtinë/Priština as well as international actors on elements of a comprehensive settlement proposal for Kosovo’s future status. My Special Envoy submitted a draft comprehensive proposal for the Kosovo status settlement (“Settlement Proposal”) to the parties on 2 February. He invited the parties to engage in a consultative process on the Settlement Proposal starting from the first week of February.
The future status of Kosovo has remained the principal political issue in Kosovo over the reporting period. The announcement by my Special Envoy on 10 November that his presentation of the Settlement Proposal to the parties would be delayed until after 21 January to allow for the holding of parliamentary elections in Serbia was received with deep disappointment by Kosovo Albanians. The reaction among the population was generally restrained, with the exception of a demonstration by the Kosovo Albanian self-determination movement Vetevendosje on 28 November, Albanian Flag Day, in which both the Government and UNMIK headquarters in Prishtinë/Priština were attacked by approximately 4,000 demonstrators throwing projectiles.
The Settlement Proposal was generally well received on 2 February by Kosovo Albanian leaders and the public, though a number of concerns were voiced on its elements such as the proposed disbandment of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) and decentralization. Radical Kosovo Albanian elements and Kosovo Serbs both rejected the Settlement Proposal, though for opposite reasons. Vetevendosje again held a protest against the plan, the Kosovo negotiating team, UNMIK and the future envisaged International Civilian Office on 10 February, the intent of which was clearly violent. Tragically, two protesters died from rubber-bullet wounds to the head. The Minister of Internal Affairs of the Kosovo Provisional Institutions of Self-Government and the UNMIK Police Commissioner resigned shortly afterwards, while the leader of the Vetevendosje movement’s remains in pre-trial detention. An inquiry into the deaths and an investigation into Vetevendosje are ongoing. While there is little mainstream support for the actions of this movement, the continued lack of clarity on Kosovo’s status, which hampers social, economic and political progress, creates a fragile environment which was exploited by radical elements.
The Kosovo negotiating team, which comprises the President, the President of the Assembly, the Prime Minister of Kosovo and the leaders of the two main governing parties and two main opposition parties, maintained unity and intensified activity in explaining their proposals and role in the future status process. They reached out to all of Kosovo’s communities and held a number of town hall meetings at which the effects of decentralization measures envisaged in the Settlement Proposal for Kosovo’s municipalities and communities were debated. These efforts are welcome, but need to be increased as the future status process moves forward. While the negotiating team remained unified, pressures on members mounted from some radical elements who increasingly criticized the team for taking part in the future status process at all, especially after the delay in connection with the Serbian parliamentary elections.
Political developments within a number of Kosovo’s political parties were also a source of pressure on the unity of the negotiating team. This was particularly true of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), which held a leadership contest during the reporting period. The President of Kosovo, Fatmir Sejdiu, emerged victorious from party elections held on 9 December 2006 and suspended his role as party leader in order to retain his post as President, as required by the Kosovo Constitutional Framework. The losing candidate, the former President of the Assembly, Nexhat Daci, who won a significant proportion of votes, started preparations to form his own party. The split within LDK has so far been most evident at the municipal level. The other main Government coalition partner, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), also faces a challenge as its party leader, Ramush Haradinaj, is due to be tried at the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in March on charges of war crimes. There have been isolated security incidents which may reflect tensions within and between political parties. An unidentified explosive device went off inside the LDK branch office in Gjilan/Gnjilane on 28 January. On 20 December 2006, UNMIK police and the Kosovo Force (KFOR) found and confiscated a large cache of weapons in Prishtinë/Priština region; three AAK members were arrested in connection with the case.
Kosovo Serbs have continued to take very little part in the political institutions in Kosovo. Against a background of active discouragement by Belgrade, Kosovo Serbs in the Assembly and the Government have not taken up their seats and the only Kosovo Serb Minister in the Government, the Minister for Communities and Returns, was forced to resign on 27 November at the recommendation of the Prime Minister after an audit uncovered evidence of financial irregularities and mismanagement. A Kosovo Serb is currently acting Minister. General engagement of the Kosovo Serb community in and with the Provisional Institutions at both central and local level remains very limited. The influence of the Government of Serbia, through the Serbian Coordination Centre for Kosovo, is particularly strong in the north of Kosovo, owing to its control of wages and employment in parallel structures. To a large extent, reaction by Kosovo Serbs to the status proposal depends on the reaction of Belgrade. The political leadership of the three Kosovo Serb municipalities in the north of Kosovo continued to boycott most contacts with Prishtinë/Priština. After cutting off political links, they are now fully dependant on Serbian state financial support, with minor exceptions for Kosovo Albanian staff and projects, funded by the Provisional Institutions.
With the exception of the violent demonstration on 10 February led by Vetevendosje and the explosion in central Prishtinë/Priština on 19 February that damaged three United Nations vehicles, the security situation remained generally calm. There was a relatively small number of potentially destabilizing incidents. General crime levels decreased during 2006 in comparison to 2005. In specific categories, crimes against persons dropped 11 per cent and weapons-related crimes by 10 per cent. Murders fell by 15 per cent. The only area of significant increase was in crimes against property, which rose by 5 per cent. Potentially ethnically motivated incidents also dropped significantly, by 70 per cent.
Vetevendosje and their linkages to other groupings such as the War Veterans’ Association remain a cause for concern. Radical groups are likely to continue to exploit any public dissatisfaction ensuing from my Special Envoy’s proposals and the future status process, including delays in the process. Other fringe elements may seek to use the charged atmosphere of the future status process to provoke interethnic violence for their own ends. There are strong concerns about the possibility of sudden and confrontational action by radical political leaders north of the Ibar River and the reactions that this may provoke in the rest of Kosovo. Some Kosovo Serb leaders have made statements implying the possibility of unilateral initiatives in reaction to the decision on Kosovo’s future status.
Standards and European integration
10. During the reporting period, the Government has continued to make progress on standards implementation. The basic reference document on standards implementation, the 2004 Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan, has been replaced by the European Partnership Action Plan, approved by the Government in August 2006. The 109 standards goals contained in the original Implementation Plan are all incorporated into the Action Plan, but the actions agreed in 2004 have been updated and revised to reflect current challenges and to respond to both the standards goals and the European partnership priorities. As a result, the Agency for European Integration is now the main coordination mechanism within the Provisional Institutions on standards, and the European Partnership Action Plan is the main guiding tool for Kosovo’s European integration process. It is expected that the European integration process will remain a Kosovo Government priority for the foreseeable future, which will ensure that the principles underlying the standards programme will be preserved and promoted beyond the life of UNMIK.
Decentralization continues to be a contentious issue in the context of the status process. Although the Kosovo negotiating team has improved outreach to municipalities to explain their proposals for new municipalities, it has faced criticism from those living in affected areas and others who perceive decentralization as a means of establishing the territorial control of Belgrade over Kosovo Serb-majority areas. Decentralization is not only problematic politically. Practical difficulties have also become evident in the establishment of Pilot Municipal Units foreseen at present, including the recruitment and training of qualified staff and obtaining necessary funding. In a recent assessment of their performance, the Government decided that, owing to challenges faced by the Units in the exercise of additional competencies, their conversion to fully fledged municipalities should be postponed until July 2007.
In addition, the establishment of new municipalities should be synchronized with the holding of new municipal elections, which were postponed because of the status process. The Government is carefully monitoring the performance of Pilot Municipal Units in the exercise of newly acquired competencies with a view to preparing them for additional transfer of competencies. The difficulties encountered by the Government and host municipalities in establishing the Units indicate that further decentralization, such as that proposed in the Settlement Proposal, will require considerable time and resources, as well as much international support, to be implemented.
Cultural and religious heritage
There were a small number of incidents, mostly theft-related, against Serbian Orthodox Churches during the reporting period. The drop in incidents corresponds with increased Kosovo Police Service (KPS) patrols at Serbian Orthodox cultural heritage sites. In January, UNMIK had to exert pressure on the Provisional Institutions to remove illegal constructions in the vicinity of the Serbian Orthodox Visoki Deçan/Decani monastery. Other issues of concern with regard to that monastery are the plans by the Provisional Institutions to construct an interregional road to Montenegro, which is to bisect the special zoning area established to protect this World Heritage Site. On 6 November 2006, my Special Representative, Joachim Rücker, promulgated the Law on Cultural Heritage, which allows for potential amendments to harmonize the law with future status arrangements.
The reconstruction of Serbian Orthodox churches damaged or destroyed during the violence of March 2004 has moved forward. Extensive interventions were carried out on seven sites under the direction of the Reconstruction Implementation Commission, chaired by the Council of Europe, from August to December 2006. The Commission’s workplan for 2007 envisions further works on these and up to 13 additional sites. Following the memorandum of understanding signed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNMIK on 11 September 2006, which provided a framework for the implementation of projects arising from pledges made at the 2005 UNESCO donors conference, a further memorandum of understanding to allow for implementation of a project using the $1 million contribution from the United States Government was signed on 29 January 2007. UNESCO is expected to begin work soon on the seven sites selected for this project, which include both Ottoman and Orthodox monuments.
15. Two of the four working groups for dialogue on technical issues between Prishtinë/Priština and Belgrade remained dormant during the reporting period. However, the Missing Persons Working Group held two closed meetings, on 7 December 2006 and 7 February 2007, while the Sub-Working Group on Forensics held regular conference calls every four to six weeks. The Technical Sub-Working Group of the Returns Working Group held its first meeting on 12 December 2006 in Prishtinë/Priština. A deadlock over starkly different interpretations of the scope of the Protocol on Return signed earlier that year was overcome and the outcome of the discussions was positive. Cooperation with the Belgrade authorities on cultural matters covered arts exchange and the return of documentation and archaeology.
The primary factors affecting returns, which remain low, continue to be lack of economic opportunities, uncertainty about the future status of Kosovo, and, to a much lesser degree than in the past, security. The funding shortfall of €15.4 million also negatively affects the return rate. Municipalities are increasingly demonstrating the capacity to directly implement components of returns projects, making them more sustainable and less expensive. After the change of leadership, the Ministry of Communities and Returns needs to continue restructuring, paying particular attention to implementing the recommendations of the audits performed in 2006. The funding shortfall affects 18 approved return projects at present, all of which have been either re-evaluated with stakeholders or are in the process of re-evaluation to bring down projected costs. Cooperation on returns between the Provisional Institutions and the Government of Serbia continued at the local level, particularly on matters of humanitarian concern.
In 2006, the overall number of persons involuntarily repatriated from host countries reached 3,598. Repatriation functions are in the process of being transferred to the Provisional Institutions. Another 90,000 Kosovans are subject to deportation and return to Kosovo, adding urgency to the Government/UNMIK plan to address reintegration needs.
A number of significant economic developments occurred during the reporting period. The first draft of the Kosovo Development Strategy and Plan was completed at the end of December 2006, though much work remains to be done on prioritizing its proposed policy measures and formulating concrete, cost-specific projects. Following its completion in the first half of 2007, the Kosovo Development Strategy and Plan is expected to become the strategic framework for public policy priorities and government and donor spending. Its ultimate objective is to improve the impact of public policies and the effectiveness of public spending.
On 19 December 2006, UNMIK on behalf of Kosovo signed the enlarged Central Europe Free Trade Area Agreement, which constitutes a single free trade agreement among its parties, namely, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and UNMIK on behalf of Kosovo. The Agreement will liberalize and simplify trade relations among the parties, giving them access to a large market of consumers.
Two significant projects in the energy and telecommunications sectors have moved forward. On 4 December, the Ministry of Energy and Mining announced that 10 companies had expressed interest in the Energy Sector Development Project, which includes the construction of a new electricity-generating plant in Kosovo. Four of these fulfilled the eligibility criteria, and will be invited to submit detailed proposals. The World Bank Lignite Power Technical Assistance grant for $8.5 million that will support the Project was signed on 13 December 2006. Secondly, the deadline for submitting bids to the tender for the second mobile telephone operator for Kosovo, which had been launched on 3 November 2006, was 17 January 2007. Five bids were presented, including from local companies acting in consortium with international partners. The evaluation of the bids is currently under way.
Future international arrangements and transition
21. Preparations and planning for the handover of UNMIK responsibilities at the end of its mandate following a political settlement intensified during the reporting period. These preparations, which have remained a top priority for UNMIK and its international and local partners, are being carried out by means of five technical working groups in the areas of rule of law, governance, civil administration, legislation, economy and property. Preparatory work has also started on a post-UNMIK constitutional arrangement and elections although without prejudice to an eventual political settlement. There has been good progress at both the political and technical level in preparing for a transition. My Special Representative has continued to chair the local Steering Group on future international arrangements, which has included representatives from the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the future status process for Kosovo, the preparation teams of the future International Civilian Office and the future European Security and Defence Policy mission. Current planning is geared to preparing the ground for a rapid and robust build-up of the future international authorities which will ensure that no gaps arise in international political authority and capacity during the transition period. In addition, the Office of the Special Envoy has held a number of meetings in Vienna with representatives from UNMIK, the preparation team of the future International Civilian Office, and the future European Security and Defence Policy mission to brief them in detail on the Office’s proposals and to discuss necessary implementation steps.
19 March 2007 – Any delay to the process of determining Kosovo’s final status could make a sustainable solution impossible to attain, the head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the Serbian province (UNMIK) told the Security Council today.
Joachim Rücker, who is also the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, told a closed-door Council session that there were high expectations among Kosovo’s population for a timely solution.
“It’s very important that the momentum in the status process is kept,” Mr. Rücker told journalists after the meeting, adding that he had used his briefing to inform Council members about the perceptions on the ground about the process.
Last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari for the future status process issued a proposal under which Kosovo would have the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, with an international civilian and military presence supervising the new arrangements and helping to ensure peace and stability.
Serbia rejects independence, a goal sought by many ethnic Albanians who outnumber Serbs and other minorities by 9 to 1 in the province, which has been run by the UN since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting.
Earlier this month Mr. Ahtisaari’s office said Serbia and the ethnic Albanian government of Kosovo remain “diametrically opposed” on the issue, despite a week-long round of talks in Vienna. The envoy later issued a revised proposal and plans to submit a final version to the Council by the end of this month.
Mr. Rücker told the Council that everyone in Kosovo deserved a clear sense of its permanent future, according to a press release issued by UNMIK following the meeting.
“The Kosovo Serbs need this clarity in order to gather the strength to take the decision they must take: to accept the hand extended to them by the Kosovo institutions and become an engaged part of Kosovo’s society,” he said.
“The Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo’s other communities also need clarity on status to feel secure that the future they and their leaders are building is permanent and is sustainable after nearly eight years of international administration.”
The envoy said Kosovo Albanian leaders had made efforts to promote patience among their own community and to encourage Kosovo Serbs to be more supportive.
“Not without success, the political leaders are intensifying efforts to reach out to Kosovo Serbs and reassure them that the status proposal contains a host of arrangements carefully designed to fully protect their rights, interests and identity,” he said.
Mr. Rücker also told the Council session that Kosovo’s provisional institutions of self-government (PISG) remained steady in their commitment to implementing the standards, eight overall targets that include building democratic institutions, enforcing minority rights, creating a functioning economy and setting up an impartial legal system.
But he said that in many cases this has not translated into material improvements in the living conditions of the province’s ethnic Serbs, largely because so many Kosovo Serbs were unwilling to participate in the PISG or accept opportunities offered by the government and municipalities.
“All too often, their non-participation in the institutions appears linked to the stance of Belgrade, which has continued to threaten Kosovo Serb civil servants with cutting off their salaries if they remain on the legitimate payroll of the PISG.
“Belgrade has continued to make statements discouraging returns and politicizing security incidents, which creates an objectively unjustified climate of fear,” he said, calling on the Serbian Government to support the participation of Kosovo Serbs in the PISG.
Ban Ki-moon receives proposals for future status of UN-administered Kosovo
15 March 2007 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today received his Special Envoy’s plan for the future status of Kosovo – the ethnic Albanian majority Serbian province that the United Nations has run since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting – after efforts to reach a compromise with the two sides ended in deadlock.
Mr. Ban will now study the proposals drawn up by Envoy Martti Ahtisaari and presented to him at UN Headquarters in New York by Mr. Ahtisaari’s deputy, Albert Rohan, and send them on to the Security Council.
Serbia rejects independence, a goal sought by many Albanians who outnumber Serbs and others in the province by 9 to 1, and after neither side showed any will to reach a negotiated accord at final talks in Vienna last Saturday, Mr. Ahtisaari said he would submit a “realistic compromise” himself.
The initial plan he put forward last month would give Kosovo the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, under international civilian and military supervision to help to ensure peace and stability.
Both sides interpreted this as meaning independence supervised by the international community. While Serbia has consistently rejected any notion of independence, some Kosovo Albanians demonstrated for immediate self-determination.
Mr. Ahtisaari himself has declined to be drawn publicly on the independence issue but has said he will make “a very clear statement” in the report submitted to Mr. Ban today.
The plan unveiled in February, which Mr. Ahtisaari said then could be refined in the light of “constructive amendments” made by the sides, addressed the needs of a multi-ethnic society and called for wide-ranging decentralization, giving Serbs a high degree of control over their own affairs such as secondary health care, higher education and finance, and setting up six new or significantly expanded Serb majority municipalities.
This was a point stressed today by Kosovo’s UN administrator Joachim Rücker, who said Serbs and other communities would have a good future under Mr. Ahtisaari’s proposals. “A very extensive part of the status proposal is about making sure that the Kosovo Serbs and other communities feel secure and have a prosperous future in Kosovo,” he told Serbs and Croats in an outreach meeting the town of Vërboc/Vrbovac.
“The municipalities are meant to add to the cohesion of post-status Kosovo and not to divide it,” Mr. Rücker stressed, noting that the proposed decentralization will create new municipalities with clear lines of responsibilities between local and central institutions.
He called on Serbs to participate in the province’s political process, from which they have stood largely apart since the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) took over after NATO forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999.
Ban Ki-moon calls for ‘timely conclusion’ of Kosovo’s future status talks
13 March 2007 – As Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian-led Government and Serbia remain at an impasse on the future of the Albanian-majority Serbian province, a “timely conclusion” to the process to determine its final status is necessary, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report to the Security Council released today.
“After almost eight years of United Nations interim administration, Kosovo and its people need clarity on their future,” Mr. Ban said in his report on the UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK), and other developments spanning the period between last November and 19 February.
Finding a “sustainable solution” for Kosovo’s future which is “stable and in which all communities can coexist in peace” is also key, he added, decrying the use of violence by extremist groups.
Two people died in a protest on 10 February in the capital, Pristina, organized by the Kosovo Albanian self-determination movement Vetevendosje, the report notes, calling for all groups to “exercise restraint and responsibility in peacefully furthering their political aims.”
In the face of the stalemate, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the status process, Martti Ahtisaari, recently declared an end to negotiations between the two sides that began after he unveiled his provisional plan for Kosovo, which the UN has run since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid brutal ethnic fighting, early last month.
Serbia rejects independence, an end sought by many Albanians in the province where they outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1, and both parties interpreted this plan as meaning independence supervised by the international community.
“I regret to say that at the end of the day, there was no will from the parties to move away from their previously stated positions,” Mr. Ahtisaari said after this weekend’s meeting in Vienna with Serbian and Kosovar leaders.
The Special Envoy said that he will make “a very clear statement” on the independence issue in the version of the plan he submits to the Security Council by the end of the month.
In his report, the Secretary-General said that UN staff will persist in focusing on “creating an enabling environment for the future status” through coordinating efforts with local leaders and also by laying plans for transition following the settlement of Kosovo’s future status.
Kosovo: declaring end to future status talks, UN envoy to present ‘realistic compromise’
12 March 2007 – Neither Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian-led Government nor Serbia have shown any will to reach a negotiated accord on the future status of the Serbian province, where Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1, and the senior United Nations official overseeing the issue will submit a “realistic compromise” to the Security Council this month.
“It is my firm conclusion that the potential of negotiations is exhausted,” Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari said after chairing a weekend meeting in Vienna of key players involved in deciding the future of the province, which the UN has run since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting.
“I regret to say that at the end of the day, there was no will from the parties to move away from their previously stated positions,” Mr. Ahtisaari added of his intensive talks with both sides since he put forward an initial plan last month that would give Kosovo the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, under international civilian and military supervision to help to ensure peace and stability.
Serbia rejects independence, a goal sought by many Albanians and both sides interpreted this plan as meaning independence supervised by the international community. Mr. Ahtisaari has said he will make “a very clear statement” on the independence issue in the version he submits to the Security Council by the end of the month.
“I had hoped, and very much preferred, that this process would lead to a negotiated agreement,” he said on Saturday after chairing the talks among Serbian and Kosovo leaders, the so-called Contact Group – the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Russia – which has been helping to seek a solution, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) whose forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 and who now help to maintain security in the province, and the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
“But it has left me with no doubt that the parties’ respective positions on Kosovo’s status do not contain any common ground to achieve such an agreement. No amount of additional negotiation will change that,” he added.
Stressing that a sustainable solution to the status issue was urgently needed, not only in the interest of the people of Kosovo but as a matter “of vital importance” for regional peace and stability, Mr. Ahtisaari said: “Delaying the status resolution would not create any better conditions for a solution – it would only be for the sake of delaying a difficult decision.”
The envoy’s provisional plan, unveiled on 2 February, addressed the demands of a multi-ethnic society, with a constitution enshrining the needed principles, to protect the rights of all communities, including culture, language, education, and symbols, as well granting specific representation for non-Albanians in key public institutions and requiring that certain laws may only be enacted if a majority of the Kosovo non-Albanian legislative members agree.
It called for wide-ranging decentralization, focusing in particular on the specific needs and concerns of the Serb community, which will have a high degree of control over its own affairs such as secondary health care, higher education and financial matters, including accepting transparent funding from Serbia. Six new or significantly expanded Kosovo Serb majority municipalities will be set up.
Since then, Serbia has repeatedly rejected any notion of independence for the province, while some Albanians have demonstrated for immediate self-determination.
President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica represented Serbia at Saturday’s meeting, while President Fatmir Sejdiu led the Kosovo team.
Kosovo: UN envoy presents revised proposals on future status
8 March 2007 – The United Nations envoy for the status of Kosovo has submitted revised plans after reporting that Serbia and the ethnic Albanian-led government remain diametrically opposed over the future of the Albanian-majority Serbian province, which the world body has run since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting.
The parties are currently considering Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari’s revised proposal ahead of a meeting of both sides and major international partners in Vienna on Saturday, spokesperson Michele Montas told a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York today.
Serbia rejects independence, a goal sought by many Albanians who outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1 in the province, and both sides interpreted Mr. Ahtisaari’s initial plan as meaning independence supervised by the international community.
While that plan did not specifically mention independence, it would give Kosovo the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, under international civilian and military supervision to help to ensure peace and stability.
Mr. Ahtisaari aims to deliver the final version to the Security Council by the end of the month when he has said he will make “a very clear statement” on the independence issue.
Currently there are no plans for any further meetings following the one on Saturday, which will bring together not only Serbia and the Kosovo Government but also the so-called Contact Group – the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Russia – which has been helping to seek a solution, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) whose forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 and who now help to maintain security in the province, and the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
Kosovo: Roma return to new homes in Mitrovica with help from UN and partners
7 March 2007 – The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) today announced that after nearly eight years in makeshift camps, a number of Roma families have begun to return to south Mitrovica thanks to a combined UN and non-governmental organization (NGO) project that is also placing them in new homes.
The Roma, who were living in South Mitrovica, some 35 kilometres north of Pristina, fled to the northern, Serbian-speaking area of Mitrovica at the outbreak of hostilities in 1999 and have been in internally displaced persons camps since then.
Some 16 persons in three families arrived Wednesday in trucks supplied by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). They were given titles to their new homes in the form of 99-year leases.
Wednesday’s arrivals were part of a programme which will resettle some one hundred families or a total of more than 500 Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian people in the new homes by the end of summer. Twenty-four flats and 57 houses have been completed and another 24 flats are under construction.
The project is a combined effort of the provisional government of Kosovo, the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Europe, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNMIK, the Norwegian government, the Irish government, Norwegian Church Aid and the Danish Refugee Council.
As Kosovo nears final status decision, UN mission organizes outreach meetings
7 March 2007 – The United Nations mission in Kosovo is arranging dozens of outreach meetings focused on the integration of minorities and good governance as the Albanian-majority Serbian province which the world body has run since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting nears a decision on its final status.
The activities, including town hall and youth meetings, public gatherings and round table discussions have been organized and facilitated by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Multi-Ethnicity and Outreach Unit as part of the Office of the Strategy Coordinator (STRATCO) in its efforts to help Kosovo society attain a better life in line with European and international standards.
This includes bringing to the forefront the role the majority population plays in integrating minorities in the province where Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1, with an emphasis on the so-called Standards, eight targets that include building democratic institutions, enforcing minority rights, creating a functioning economy and setting up an impartial legal system.
“By coordinating the efforts to promote Standards implementation and in the outreach process for minorities, UNMIK has analyzed, evaluated and offered guidance on ways to ensure that Kosovo becomes a vibrant multiethnic society,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Joachim Rücker said.
The meetings come as Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy for the status process Martti Ahtisaari continues discussions with Serbia and the province’s ethnic Albanian-led government on a plan he presented earlier this year, which would give Kosovo the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, under international civilian and military supervision to help to ensure peace and stability.
The plan does not specifically mention independence, which Serbia rejects but which many ethnic Albanians seek, and Mr. Ahtisaari reported last week that the sides remain “diametrically opposed” on his proposals. Following further talks he plans to present a further version to the Security Council by the end of the month.
Asked last month whether he would characterize his proposals as independence in all but name, he said both sides were interpreting them as meaning independence supervised by the international community, but he would make “a very clear statement on that” when he presents the final version.
Picture shot on Wednesday 07 March 2007. New UNMIK Police Commissioner Richard Monk in the UNMIK Joint Weekly Press Conference. Photo by: UNMIK/DPI
New commissioner takes over as head of UN police in Kosovo
6 March 2007 – A veteran British police officer with wide experience in international law enforcement has taken over as the new United Nations police commissioner in Kosovo after his predecessor was asked to resign following the deaths of two people in a clash with pro-independence demonstrators in the Albanian-majority Serbian province.
Richard Monk, first Director and Senior Police Adviser to the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) from 2002 to 2006, was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to replace Stephen J. Curtis, who stepped down last month.
Mr. Ban’s Special Representative in Kosovo Joachim Rücker asked for Mr. Curtis’s resignation after police used rubber bullets against pro-independence demonstrators in the province, which the UN has run ever since North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid brutal ethnic fighting.
The demonstration followed the unveiling of UN proposals for the future status of the province, where Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1. The provisional plan, drawn up by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy for the status process Martti Ahtisaari, calls for Kosovo to have the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, with an international civilian and military presence supervising the new arrangements.
But it does not specifically mention independence, which Serbia rejects and which many ethnic Albanians seek.
During his time at OSCE Mr. Monk founded and was head of the Strategic Police Matters Unit responsible for capacity/institution-building, particularly in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. He also carried out a ‘Study of Policing in Yugoslavia’ that forms the basis of international police aid to Serbia and Montenegro.
As Commissioner of the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF) in Bosnia during 1998-99, he was responsible for rebuilding and reforming the police forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2000, he was a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel on Peace Operations, which reviewed criticisms of past peacekeeping operations.
As a police officer for 35 years in the United Kingdom, Mr. Monk served in several senior positions including as Head of Scotland Yard Branches dealing with Crime, Community Affairs and Crime Prevention and as Assistant Chief Constable (Crime) for the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.
Kosovo: Serbia, ethnic Albanians remain ‘diametrically opposed’ on UN plan for status
2 March 2007 – Serbia and the ethnic Albanian government of Kosovo remain “diametrically opposed” following week-long talks on United Nations proposals for the future status of the Serbian province which the world body has run since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting, the office of the senior UN envoy on the issue said today.
Serbia rejects independence, a goal sought by many Albanians who outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1 in the province.
Last month Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for the future status process Martti Ahtisaari proposed that Kosovo will have the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, with an international civilian and military presence supervising the new arrangements and helping to ensure peace and stability.
In a press release, the Special Envoy’s Office said he would review the positions presented by both sides during seven days of talks in Vienna, where he has his headquarters, and prepare a revised proposal which will be made available to the parties next week.
He has invited the parties to attend a high-level meeting in Vienna on 10 March, to which he has also invited the so-called Contact Group – the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Russia – which has been helping to seek a solution, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) whose forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 and who now help to maintains security in the province, and the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
“The discussions reaffirmed that the parties remained diametrically opposed on the future status of Kosovo,” according to the press release. “These positions reflected in the parties’ comments on and proposed changes to the comprehensive settlement. The parties also continued to differ on other key provisions of the Settlement, (e.g. constitutional provisions, decentralization, and cultural and religious heritage.)”
When he presented his proposals at the beginning of February, Mr. Ahtisaari said he would deliver his final draft to the Security Council at the end of March after consulting with parties.
Picture shot on Tuesday 06 March 2007. SRSG Joachim Ruecker signing the Agreement with the Government of Sweeden concerning the Kosovo Probation Service, at Ministry of Justice. Photo by: UNMIK/DPI
Picture shot on Tuesday 06 march 2007. PDSRSG Steven Schook attending the Memorial ceremony of the Jashari Family. Photo by: UNMIK/DPI
Tilbageblik / KOSOVO: Beredskabet har vist sig at være helt oppe på mærkerne. Heldigvis er det indtil nu kun blevet testet under øvelser
19-03-2007 kl. 13:44
Af Steffen Jønsson, sergent
En måned inde i udsendelsesperioden, og vi kan nu se tilbage på en periode med indarbejdelse af diverse rutiner, og træning i at være klar. Indtil videre har vi heldigvis ikke haft brug for vores forskellige beredskaber, men vi har i flere sammenhænge vist, at vi er klar, hvis der bliver brug for det.
Så sent som torsdag i sidste uge afprøvede vi vores beredskab, og så måtte de, der var på fem minutters beredskab, skynde sig til det Taktiske Operations Center(TOC) for at samles og køre ud til en forstilt ulykke. Heldigvis en øvelse, men bataljonens beredskab viste, at de var mere end klar. For vores vedkommende var det sergent Povlsen og sergent Brogaard, der i løbet af to minutter mødtes med de andre enheder ved TOC’en. Alle i beredskabet skal være i TOC’en inden for fem minutter, så to minutter må siges at være en god præstation af alle.
Arbejdet på stedet gik også efter planen, og der var to momenter klar med sminkede skader, så sanitetspersonellet også fik noget at lave. En god øvelse, hvor alle involverede viste, at vi har et højt fagligt niveau.
Om fredagen var den gal igen, og beredskabet måtte rykke ud. Igen en øvelse, men inden for tre minutter var sergent Raun-Petersen, undertegnede og alle de andre samlet i TOC’en, og dem, der skulle overtage selve beredskabet var endda også nået derned. Endnu en god præstation. Denne gang omhandlede det et færdselsuheld mellem et civilt og militært køretøj, og så var det vigtigt, at vi kunne samarbejde på stedet, da der var fem tilskadekomne. Altså igen og heldigvis kun en øvelse.
Hvor vores fem minutters beredskab bruges i forbindelse med uheld, har vi også andre beredskaber, der kan rykke ud, for eksempel i forbindelse med uroligheder. Det blev aldrig aktuelt på sidste hold, men vi skal jo træne det, så vi er klar, hvis det sker. Også set i lyset af de afsluttende forhandlinger vedrørende Kosovos fremtid, da der hurtigt kan opstå en situation, som kræver indblanding fra vores side.
Vi har derfor i samarbejde med panserinfanteristerne og sanitetspersonellet trænet i, hvordan vi klarer opgaven, hvis der opstår opløb og uroligheder. Infanteristerne i forreste linje, hvor de med pansrede mandskabsvogne og iklædt blå hjelme, skjolde og benskinner, skal holde demonstranter på afstand. Demonstranter, vi indtil videre rent øvelsesmæssigt har lånt fra stabskompagniet eller de franske enheder.
Militærpolitiets rolle i sådanne opgaver er at stå bag kæden af blå hjelme og køretøjer og kaste eller skyde gas ud foran demonstranterne, for at tvinge dem tilbage. Dette giver en fordel for den forreste linje, der derved nemt kan komme fremad og vinde terræn. Derudover er vi også klar til at foretage anholdelser, hvis dette skulle være nødvendigt.
Som nævnt træner vi meget for at være klar, og lad os håbe, at det ikke bliver nødvendigt på noget tidspunkt. Men træningen vil fortsætte, for det ville være ret uprofessionelt, hvis vi en dag skulle rykke skarpt ud, uden at være klar til det.
Panserinfanteriet gennemfører operationer, uddannelse og udveksling.
Af J. Medom, oversergent og P. Kastrup Madsen, premierløjtnant
I den forløbne uge har 1 deling gennemført uddannelse og udveksling med franske enheder og 3 deling har været på patruljer med en belgisk enhed.
Uddannelsesmæssigt bruger kompagniet meget tid på at træne, hvordan man skal klare opgaven mod optøjer og uroligheder. Delingerne træner iført hjelme, benskinner, beskyttelsesskjolde og ikke mindst under brug af de pansrede mandskabsvogne. Det gennemføres i samarbejde med såvel militærpolitiet, fransk gendarmeri og sanitetsgrupper. Når man har det godt, går tiden som bekendt stærkt, og fire timer i den franske lejr med træning i rydning af hindringer er hurtigt gået.
Operationer med vore udenlandske kolleger har i det hele taget fyldt meget i vores hverdag de seneste uger. Således gennemførte delingen udveksling med en fransk transport deling den forløbne uge. Udvekslingen startede med, at franskmændene kom til den danske lejr, blev vist rundt og indkvarteret. Imens blev skydebanen klargjort, da skydning var det første punkt på dagens program. Da banen var klargjort kom den franske deling og resten af 1. Deling.
Den franske deling modtog også undervisning i brugen af vores våben. Det skete på engelsk og blev så oversat af den franske delingsfører til de af hans folk, som ikke talte engelsk.
Efter at instruksen var givet, kunne skydningen starte. De franske soldater fik lov til at skyde med vores våben, og med lidt ekstra hjælp fra vores egne soldater gik det rigtig godt og med fine træf. Allerede her begyndte mange af de franske menige at prøve at gøre sig forståelige over for de danske soldater. ”Nød lærer nøgen kvinde at spinde” og selv med meget få engelskkundskaber kan man sagtens kommunikere med tegnsprog og mimik.
Det samme gjorde sig gældende, da de danske soldater skulle skyde med de franske våben. Der blev givet instruks af den franske delingsfører, og bagefter blev der afprøvet skydefærdigheder med et nyt våben. En god formiddag gik med disse skydninger, hvor der også blev tid til at se den franske delings førstehjælpsmateriel.
Efter skydebaneprogrammet stod der patruljer på ugeplanen. Det bør nævnes, at den franske transportdeling kun havde været uden for deres egen lejr på patrulje fire gange i de to måneder, de har været hernede, så de var meget begejstrede for besøget allerede fra starten. Forventningerne var høje fra franskmændenes side, og de glædede sig til at køre patrulje og arbejde ude blandt lokalbefolkningen.
Delingsførerne gav ordre til grupperne, og derefter blev patruljerne sammensat af franske og danske soldater. En god måde at vise hvordan KFOR kan arbejde sammen om løsning af opgaver. Patruljerne kørte ud i vores ansvarsområder til de lokale og løste de opgaver, som delingen normalt løser alene. Imens var en gruppe i gang med at klargøre til det sociale indslag tilbage i lejren. Gruppen sørgede for grillmad fra vores eget cafeteria, og gjorde grillen klar. Efter en lang dag var det rart for alle at få stillet sulten.
Delingerne spiste sammen, og den franske kompagnichef, der var kommet forbi, deltog også. Der blev talt om alt fra dagens program til det danske og franske sprog. En hyggelig aften, der sluttede med, at der blev spillet pool, dart og snakket i messen.
Kommunikationen med franskmændene gik nogenlunde, idet delingsfører og gruppeførere talte engelsk, hvilket fik hele programmet til at forløbe gnidningsfrit. Det virker måske meget simpelt at tale engelsk, men som den franske kaptajn erkendte, er engelsk ikke udbredt på samme måde i franske skolesystem, som det er i det danske. Dette gør, at danske soldater, i modsætning til mange andre landes styrker, taler et ”næsten flydende” engelsk, som er med til at forbedre danske enheders evne til at samarbejde med de andre landes styrker.
Franskmændene viser altid gerne deres taknemlighed for de programmer, som laves for dem og også vores gæstfrihed. Dette blev gjort ved, at kompagniet blev tildelt en flot medajle, som vores kompagnichef modtog.
Bortset fra en af grupperne, som sammen med en af de franske soldater kørte ud i området på en natpatrulje, afsluttedes den første dag af udvekslingen.
Næste morgen startede stille og roligt med kompagniets morgenmøde, hvor den franske delingsfører deltog. Mødet var selvfølgelig på dansk, så der måtte oversættes en gang imellem. Vi kunne konkludere, at strukturen for vores møder er meget lig hinanden. Vi sluttede de to dages program af med kørsel i vore pansrede mandskabsvogne og en demonstration af det danske materiel. Først blev der givet en kort briefing omkring vore opgaver og mulige indsættelse, hvorefter gruppeførerne redegjorde i detaljer for de enkelte våben og køretøjer.
Gruppeførerne stod for fremvisningen, og det vil sige alt lige fra mørkekampsmateriel til våben og den udrustning, vi bruger under uroligheder. De franske soldater viste stor interesse for den danske udrustning og det materiel, der benyttes under operationer. Udvekslingen afsluttedes med ”tak for denne gang og på gensyn”.
Mens 1. Deling havde besøg af den franske deling, var en af de andre delingers gruppe på en længere patrulje. Gruppen var underlagt og samarbejdede med en belgisk deling højt oppe i bjergene. Et område, hvor der sjældent kommer andre end de lokale.
Den seneste tid har i sandhed stået i multinationalt samarbejdes tegn.
Kontrolbesøg, bilsyn og brandinspektion
Af C. Granzow, major, ACOS S4.
Som lejere er det altid rart at få besøg af husværten, således at man kan få stemt af, om afleveringen har været i orden.
Det var lige netop derfor, at de mange ejere af materiel og lejr var på besøg i den forløbne uge. Repræsentanter fra Det Danske International Logistikcenter (DANILOG), Forsvaret Materieltjeneste (FMT), Hærens Operative Kommando (HOK) gennemgik status på alt det materiel, vi har modtaget fra hold 15 og gennemgik de ting, som måske skulle rettes eller fornyes.
Først blev det gennemgået på bataljonsniveau, og efterfølgende fik hver af enhederne besøg, her kunne de enkelte chefer og deres forsyningsbefalingsmænd så få afstemt deres forventninger og samtidig få spurgt ind til sager, der måske ikke er helt så klart i missionen som hjemme i Danmark.
En sikker lejr er et rart sted at være, og derfor er det helt naturligt, at der også gennemføres en brandinspektion, når et nyt hold kommer til. Beredskabsstyrelsen og Søværnets Brand og Havariskolen havde igen fundet herned.
Brandalarmer blev tjekket, døre, der var åbne, blev lukket, ting, der havde taget forkert bolig, blev flyttet, og lejrens vicevært fik brug for snilde og fantasi for at afskærme olietankene.
Vores lokale brandkaptajn fik vist sin kunnen, og beredskabet stod sin prøve. Alt sammen til brandinspektørens store tilfredshed.
Uden sikre køretøjer kan vi ikke holde den ellers flotte uheldsstatistik, bilinspektøren og hans assistent gik til den fra dag et.
I løbet af to dage havde de været igennem et stort antal køretøjer, og vores eneste asfalterede vej i lejren blev indhegnet som bremsebane med tilhørende kraftigt tramp på speeder, efterfulgt af hvinene bremser i timevis.
Ingen blev kasseret, så med rette var det et stolt mekanikerteam, der spiste sammen torsdag aften.
BELGRADE, 20 March 2007 - The Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, Ambassador Hans Ola Urstad, will present certificates to 43 lawyers from south Serbia who have completed a bar exam training programme, in Bujanovac tomorrow.
The two-month training course, organized by the OSCE Mission in co-operation with the Belgrade association Projuris Organization for Legal Education in Bujanovac, will end on 21 March.
The aim of the training course was to assist participants in passing the bar exam and to further strengthen legal institutions in south Serbia. Participants will have better prospects in the professional market after enhancing their skills and passing the bar exam.
During his visit, Ambassador Urstad will also meet local leaders and representatives of local self-government from south Serbia.
March 15, 2007 The President of the Republic, Alfred Moisiu has expressed once again his deepest condolences and great human sadness to the families whose beloved lost their lives in the tragic accident that took place on the road Dukagjin-Shkodra at the place called Karm-Kir. Being unable to visit them personally, President Moisiu sent his military and security advisers to be present in the victims’ families and to convey the full support of the Head of state to them during these grieving and very hard moments of life.
Statement of the President of the Republic about the decreeing of a few ministers in the government.
March 19, 2007
The President of the Republic, Alfred Moisiu has received on March 13th, 2007 the written propositions of Prime Minister, Sali Berisha for the discharge and nomination of some ministers in the government. In accordance to Article 98.1 of the Constitution of Albania, the President nominated the new ministers within seven days, hence before March 20th, 2007.
The President of the Republic has reviewed with constitutional responsibility all the proposed names. The decreeing of the new ministers has been done also in respect of the implementation of the constitutional competences of the President.
Based on the above mentioned the President decreed today the following nominations:
Mr. Gazmend Oketa – Deputy Prime Minister
Mr. Ilir Rusmali – Minister of Justice
Mr. Nard Ndoka – Minister of Health
Mr. Bujar Nishani – Minister of Interior
Mr. Ylli Pango – Minister of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports
Mrs. Majlinda Bregu – Minister of Integration
The decrees of the President according to the constitutional and legal procedure will be sent today to the Assembly of Albania.
President Moisiu headed the swearing in ceremony of the new Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers.
March 20th, 2007
The President of the Republic, Alfred Moisiu headed today the swearing in ceremony of the new Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers of the Government cabinet. After the playing of the national anthem and reading the oath, Deputy Prime Minister, Gazmend Oketa and the Minister of Justice, Ilir Rusmali, Minister of Interior, Bujar Nishani, Minister of Integration, Majlinda Bregu, Minister of Health, Nard Ndoka and the Minister of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports, Ylli Pango took the oath and received by President Moisiu the nominating decree.
Present in the swearing in ceremony were Bamir Topi, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Group of the Democratic Party, Thimio Kondi, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Robert Çeku, Head of the State Audit, Ardian Fullani, Director of the State Bank, Fatmira Laska, Head of the High State Inspectorate, Bajram Ibraj, Director-General of the State Police, etc.
On this occasion, President Moisiu held an address as follows:
Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This phase of the constitutional process of a few changes in the government cabinet which followed the just held elections is concluded by today’s swearing in of the Deputy Prime Minister and five new ministers. Such developments are important in the political life of a country because the political life, the same as society, need continuous improvements, corrections and new ideas which together must give a new impulse to the executive activity. With their complexity the changes cannot help but influence the reviewing of political priorities of the government and the development of the political life in the country.
In its core, the challenge of this government, as of any democratic government, is to serve best the citizens by keeping the promises made and demonstrating capabilities in implementing the reforms that get our country closer to the democratic standards of European Union. Regarding the agenda of the reforms, the economic development and Euro-Atlantic integration, the Albanians more than once have clearly given the message that the country needs a visionary policy and capable decision-making that does not compare simply with itself or the past, but also with the most successful models of other countries which are already NATO and EU members. In this context I deemed it necessary to stress that by now we must have put behind that stage of policy making with an inflammatory jargon and terminology, which is so unacceptable from an ethical and moral side and also legally punishable. The citizens expect from the decision making politicians to be capable to distinguish what is best and most useful for the country and citizens.
In the end, I would like to thank the discharged ministers for the cooperation we had enjoyed and to wish once again good luck and successes to the new ministers in their important duty.
Regarding the absence of the Prime Minister at the swearing in ceremony of the new Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers.
March 20th, 2007
Answering to the media inquiries regarding the absence of Prime Minister Sali Berisha at the swearing ceremony of the new Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers of the Government Cabinet, the Press Office of the President of the Republic announces: “The President of the Republic regrets that the Prime Minister did not become part of the constitutional procedure and state protocol by not participating in the swearing in ceremony of the ministers he himself had proposed. The Head of state stresses that regardless of this, the country deserves a government and through the swearing in ceremony of the new ministers, the President fulfilled his constitutional duty so the country can have an effective government in duty.”
PM Berisha har peget på den fremtrædende Demokrat Bamir Topi som Kandidat til Præsidentposten. Tirana Times skriver om Socialisternes synspunkt: »Socialists came out with a proposal, a suggestion Wednesday. Socialist leader Edi Rama said at a party leadership meeting that they would ask for no early elections if the governing coalition would agree to reach a consensus on general reforms they specified in five spheres: electoral reform and identity cards, a new administrative map, better management of the territory especially of its environment, reform in the judiciary, reform on the decentralization and reforming the public administration. Majlinda Bregu of the Democrats came out hours after to openly say they did not trust Rama. That is a clear sign that both sides of the Albanian politics will continue to make offers and do nothing, continuing to lack the trust to each other and consequently affect the country’s general development and ties to the international institutions.« I en anden artikel står: »TIRANA, March 12 - Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha on Monday reshuffled his cabinet to give a boost to reforms needed for the country’s integration efforts into the international institutions. The reshuffle is less than a month after the local polls where Berisha lost the major cities but won in most of the rural areas. Berisha moved five ministers from his cabinet: Gazmend Oketa replaces Deputy Prime Minister Ilir Rusmajli who moves to the Justice Ministry post instead of Aldo Bumci, Bujar Nishani replaces Sokol Olldashi who resigned from the Interior Ministry to run in the Feb. 18 local polls, Majlinda Bregu instead of Arenca Trashani at the European Integration Ministry and also takes the new post of the government spokeswoman, Ylli Pango replaces Bujar Leskaj for the Culture Ministry and Nard Ndoka instead of Maksim Cikuli as the health minister. Berisha also said that France has had as health minister a person who was not a doctor, a strange comparison with such a big and experienced country.«
On March 5 2007, the Ambassador of the Republic of Albania in Belgrade, Mr. Spiro Koçi presented the Letters of Credentials to the President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Boris Tadiç.
In the course of their discussion the interlocutors highlighted the importance of good neighborhood relations, as well as the willingness of relevant governments for the further enhancement of these relations in fields of mutual benefit. Both parties underscored the necessity to establish a cooperating climate and a qualitative increase of bilateral and multilateral relations in the region. A special attention was attached to the cooperation in the frame of integrating processes of the region into Euro-Atlantic structures.
President Tadiç and Ambassador Koçi expressed their totally different views in regard to the settlement of Kosovo issue in accordance with the acknowledged stance of each country.
Joint Statement of the Embassies of The United States of America, The Federal Republic of Germany, acting as the local Presidency of the European Union, Italy, The Delegation of the European Commission and The OSCE Presence in Albania
We note with regret the troubled and tense atmosphere in which the March 11 by-election in Shijak was held.
The right of citizens to vote freely is an essential element in democracies, and it is the responsibility of all political forces in a democracy to defend and support this right.
We reiterate that boycotting and obstructing the conduct of legally mandated elections is inconsistent with Euroatlantic democratic values. Concerns regarding irregularities in the preparation of elections and differences over procedures should be addressed to the CEC in accordance with Albanian law.
We call on the government and all political parties to begin work now on electoral reform which is so urgently needed.
Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Enlargement, encourages political leaders in Tirana to improve political co-operation
Commissioner Rehn met today with President Moisiu, Prime Minister Berisha, Foreign Affairs Minister Mustafaj, European Integration Minister Arenca Trashani and opposition leaders Edi Rama and Ilir Meta to exchange views about Albania’s path to the EU.
Commissioner Rehn shared the view with Albania’s political leaders that Albania’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) is a solid framework for Albania to work towards its goal of European integration. He underlined however that improved political co-operation and above all stability is required to make possible the reforms needed for SAA success. This is a precondition for moving further towards the EU. Commissioner Rehn made clear that last month's local elections and the recent by-election in Shijak showed that Albania's political leaders need to improve the way they co-operate:
“Making a success of the SAA and moving closer to the EU requires further reform. This in turn requires a culture of co-operation and democratic stability. Last month's local elections showed that your political leaders still need to improve the way they co-operate. The presidential elections in June will be a chance for Albanian's politicians to show their own citizens – and the EU – that they can work together in the public interest.”
The aim of this press release is closely linked with the progress of the process of parliamentary-by elections in election zone 26, or, to say it differently, Shijak [Dürres-området].
First of all I would like to highlight the presence of a considerable number of MPs in this election zone. I cannot say whether their presence constitutes an offence or a legal violation, but I can say that about their interference with the ZEC activity. We are all aware of the very negative experience observed in February 18, local government elections due to the intervention of a great number of MP-s, from the entire political spectrum, not only in the voting centers on the Election Day, but in the premises of ballot counting centers too. There where the MP-s acted, many problems and legal violations were found. These interventions consisted in blocking the counting process of the last box and other similar cases. Under no circumstances should the same negative phenomenon occur in these by-elections. It only a zone with 38 Voting Centers and it would be a shame if we encountered problems of whatever nature.
I call on to all the important figures that will be present in zone no. 26 on the election day, not to intervene in the Voting Centers, Counting Centers or the ZEC, because such action is prohibited by law. Only those people authorized by law or those with accreditation rights, observers accredited by the CEC or ZEC, are allowed to enter the above premises.
The MPs who are not voters in that zone, have no right to be present in these premises. The fact that he is an MP does not mean that he has the right to enter anywhere. The presence of any unauthorized person, be that an MP, constitutes a violation and a precedent for the damage of the process. I personally see this presence as threat which might impair the process, and I repeat it again, given the negative experience in the Local Elections. There is a risk that the whole Parliament moves to Shijak.
Another negative phenomenon we see with great concern, according information from our inspectors and printed or electronic media is that of “taking measures to protect the vote”, “we have our people who will not allow the vote to be stolen”, etc. The vote is not protected by former policemen or people discharged from duty. Such primitive actions only destroy the process. This “epoch” is dead once and for all. We are in quite another stage and standard. Today we talk about the voters' identification and providing them with identity cards, introduction of digital technology in the counting process and not about primordial actions. In Albania there are currently consolidated institutions which provide legal solutions to all issues, such as the Central Election Commission, the Electoral College, etc.
Once again, I call on to all the parties to leave the institutions do their duty, pursuant to the Electoral Code, Constitution or other laws related to the process.
In addition, I officially and legally require from all the Voting Center Commissions of election zone no.26, ZEC no.26, not to allow any unauthorized person, be that an MP, to intervene in the election premises, such as Voting Centers or Ballot Counting Centers where the respective ZEC is based. Such interventions are illegal.
The voters have the right to express their free will and elect their own representatives.
The second issue I would like to address, which is as important, is that of establishment of the Voting Center Commissions and Ballot Counting Teams. There are some terrible delays in proposing the commissioners by the relevant political subjects. Despite the measures taken by us for their training, this process risks to fail. While we have the whole election supply ready, we cannot deliver it to the ZEC as the latter cannot distribute it.
Stressing again that these grave problems come also as a result of our election system, which is established by the law-makers and which is not the time to discuss, I would like to call on again to the political subjects, the electoral staffs, to take all the measures so that everything goes on normally; to immediately constitute the VCCs, to urgently propose the BCT members, to take the election supply, so that the voting can start normally at 7.00 hrs and continue in the same way till the end. All the measures should be taken to have a correct voting process, counting process and announcement of the process in compliance with law.
I would say that this partial process in election zone no. 26 is a golden opportunity to show our fellow citizens and the international factor that we have been able to grasp and reflect on all the criticism and serious remarks of the preliminary reports of OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission, on February 18, local government elections.
CHAIRMAN, Central Election Commission
The Central Election Commission welcomes and highly estimates the fourth preliminary report of OSCE/ODIHR Observation Mission, covering February 19 - February 25 period, as a very transparent and realistic report. It is worth mentioning that even this time the work of the CEC continues to be considered as positive through the whole conduct of the post-election process.
In Chapter III, which refers to the election administration on ballot counting, the report points out the fact that: "While the count was reasonably organized in most of counting centers observed, the late appointment of counting team members appears to be have resulted in insufficient training of commissioners and so leading to mistakes being made during the count itself. Although the majority of counting teams attempted to carry out their duties in a professional manner, observation reports received by the evening of 19 February, rated the count as “bad” or “very bad” in 23% of observation reports submitted. Only a few LGECs were able to complete the vote count, tabulate the results and submit them to the CEC within the legal deadline of 17:00 on 19 February", thus pointing out very clearly the responsibilities in the process of counting and tabulation of results.
Following the coverage of the conduct of the process, the report highlights the important decisions ruled by the CEC in the following cases: "... in some cases the CEC had to send regional inspectors or trainers to help LGEC resolve problems with the vote count or tabulation of results”. It also refers to its intervention in Himarë, Bushat, Paskuqan, on which the report underlines that: "The CEC decided to dismiss the LGEC chairperson and file criminal charges against ten LGEC members. In addition, all the LGEC members and the secretary were each fined 30,000 Lek", and also to the case of Elbasan and Hekal, which quotes, among others: "... Given the failure of the LGEC to reach a decision on this ballot box, on 23 February, the CEC ordered the LGEC to transport all the election material, including the ballot boxes, to the CEC premises escorted by the CEC personnel”.
Regarding the announcement of results, beyond the remark made in this report to the CEC on release of preliminary results in its website, “on the night of elections” seriously considered by the CEC, although it was conditioned by the transmission of faxes to the Department of Technology and Information, the Observation Mission report clearly shows the causes of delay regarding this process.
"While the vast majority of the LGECs sent the election results to the CEC during the week following the election day, this was delayed in a number of LGUs, where disagreements between the political parties or candidates hampered the counting process and announcement of results. This ultimately led to significant delays in the transmission and publication of election results, far beyond the deadlines envisaged in the Electoral Code”.
In addition, in Chapter IV, which addresses the issues of complains and post-election appeals, the report clearly highlights the commitment and the very serious work of the CEC, when it says that: " Pursuant to Article 161/2, point 3 of the Electoral Code, the CEC has ten days to decide on complaints pertaining to election results. Thus far, the CEC has demonstrated genuine efforts to handle disputes in an expedient and efficient manner, in line with 13 January amendments that streamlined the procedures for the examination of complaints and invalidation requests. The amendments also explicitly granted the CEC the right to evaluate election documentation and materials, including ballots”.
Without wanting to eschew or to excuse itself on the problems emerged during the Local Government Elections process, the CEC expresses again its consideration for the very transparent and professional report of the OSCE/ODIHR Observation Mission. We also express our confidence that all the factors related directly or indirectly to the election process in Albania and naturally, the Commission, should seriously reflect on all the remarks made by the Observation Mission, clearly read them and start as soon as possible the deep and comprehensive election reform in order to avoid once and for all every last-minute intervention to the Election Code, as its occurred in these local elections.
Central Election Commission
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Election Observation Mission Republic of Albania Local Elections 2007
INTERIM REPORT 4 19–25 February 2007
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
* Following the Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions on 19 February, the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission (EOM) has continued its observation of the remaining steps of the electoral process, with a focus on the counting and tabulation, and handling of complaints and appeals.
* While the vote count proceeded relatively smoothly in the large majority of Local Government Units (LGUs) observed, in others it was protracted and contentious. In some LGUs, the count was at times blocked, and there were cases in which not all ballot boxes were counted due to disagreements among election commissioners.
* During the count, officials sometimes appeared to place their respective party interests before the integrity of the process, thereby failing to implement the law as impartial election administrators. This resulted in political disputes and obstruction to the counting process, and subsequently delays were observed during the tabulation of results.
* In a limited number of LGUs, the counting process was marred by violence between supporters of different candidates and parties, as well as members of counting teams. At least one person had to be hospitalized and several others were detained.
* The announcement of election results on the Central Election Commission (CEC) website was significantly delayed. While this was attributed to software problems, it did not contribute to enhancing transparency.
* The police played a positive role during the voting and counting process, and performed their duties in a professional manner and in line with the law.
* As of 25 February, 144 complaints against election results and invalidation requests had been filed with the CEC. The CEC has started considering the majority of these cases. In addition, the General Prosecutor’s Office has reported that 36 election-related criminal charges were filed between 18 and 20 February.
* A small team of OSCE/ODIHR EOM experts are following the remaining phases of the electoral process, with particular attention to the handling of complaints and appeals.
On 19 February, the OSCE/ODIHR EOM, together with the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, issued a joint Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, reflecting developments of the pre-election period and election day.
Following, the OSCE/ODIHR EOM continued its observation activities, focusing on the counting of votes and their tabulation, and announcement of results. OSCE/ODIHR observers reported from 77 counting centres. In addition, the OSCE/ODIHR EOM followed the initial stages of the CEC’s adjudication of complaints against LGEC decisions and requests for the invalidation of election results.
On 20 February, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, issued a statement that called on Albanian institutions and political parties to continue their co-operation in pursuit of electoral reform, together with the OSCE/ODIHR.
The OSCE/ODIHR EOM will continue its observation of the handling of complaints and appeals. It will offer a comprehensive assessment of the entire electoral process, including recommendations for future improvements, in a Final Report to be issued within two months after the completion of the process.
III. ELECTION ADMINISTRATION
Counting and Vote Tabulation at LGECs
After the close of voting, ballot boxes were transported to 375 counting centres, where the counting of votes proceeded. In eight LGUs, voting did not take place, and consequently there was no vote count. While the count was reasonably well organized in most counting centres observed, the late appointment of counting team members appears to have resulted in insufficient training of commissioners, and so leading to mistakes being made during the count itself.
Although the majority of counting teams attempted to carry out their duties in a professional manner, observation reports received by the evening of 19 February rated the count as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ in 23 per cent of observation reports submitted. Only a few LGECs were able to complete the vote count, tabulate the results and submit them to the CEC within the legal deadline of 17:00 on 19 February [1/ 20:00 in Tirana].
The role played by political parties in some LGUs, after election day, was less than constructive. In many counting centres, observers also noted a higher number of party observers than foreseen by the Electoral Code. In addition, the presence of MPs from both sides in some ‘problematic’ counting centres contributed to rising tensions and a more contentious atmosphere.
In 19 per cent of counting centres visited, disagreements over the validity of ballots were noted. Disputes among counting team or LGEC members, or between counting teams and LGECs, led to disturbances and stoppages during the count. In several counting centres, the count was blocked as commissioners representing various political interests walked out. In 38 per cent of counts observed, the presence of unauthorized persons was noted, and in around one third of these cases, they were unduly interfering in the process. Observers noted in 19 per cent of their reports that unauthorized persons or party observers were trying to unduly influence counting teams or LGECs.
In a limited number of LGUs, observers reported significant problems. There, the decision-making process was blocked by the counting team or the LGEC. In some cases, the CEC had to send regional inspectors or trainers to help LGECs resolve problems with the vote count or the tabulation of results.
In Himara municipality (Vlorë region), disputes between the candidates of the Democratic Party and the Human Rights Union Party, over alleged voting irregularities and the composition of counting teams, hampered the counting process from the very start. Counting was conducted in a tense atmosphere and was repeatedly stalled. On 20 February, the CEC ordered the LGEC to finish the count and sent inspectors to help resolve problems. Staff representatives from the Vlorë Prosecutor’s Office were also sent to Himara. On Thursday 21 February, the count in Himara was eventually concluded.
In Bushat commune (Shkodër region), the ballot boxes from only five out of 25 voting centres were counted. The LGEC could not finish the count because of pressure from a crowd of supporters of the competing mayoral candidates, who had gathered outside the counting centre. The standoff resulted in violence and the police had to intervene to restore order. Ultimately, the CEC decided that all election material should be brought to Tirana and be counted there by the Bushat LGEC and two counting teams, in the presence of CEC inspectors.
In Gjirokastër municipality, problems were evident even before the start of the vote count, as the LGEC members nominated by the parliamentary majority did not show up for the count. Counting commenced only after a CEC representative held a separate meeting with the two main candidates. Even then, however, the count took place in a tense atmosphere and was occasionally interrupted. There was also a fist fight among members of a counting team. After the mayoral results were established on 21 February, tensions were lessened. The count for the council was completed on 22 February, and the results were aggregated the following day.
In Paskuqan commune [2/ Tirana Region], the LGEC failed to follow a CEC decision to proceed with the vote count. The CEC then decided to dismiss the LGEC chairperson and file criminal charges against ten LGEC members. In addition, all LGEC members and the secretary were each fined 30,000 Lek. [3/ Approximately 240 EUR]
In Durrës municipality, the LGEC failed to take a decision on the election results for mayor; the LGEC members nominated by the parliamentary majority voted against the tabulation of results, objecting to the invalidation of 1,189 ballots during the count. On 23 February, the result tables were signed, but only the six LGEC members nominated by the parliamentary minority voted in favour. The count for the council finished on 25 February.
In Elbasan municipality, the tabulation and transmission of results was impeded by a controversy over the counting of one ballot box because the serial number of one of the security seals on the box did not match the official records. Given the failure of the LGEC to reach a decision on this ballot box, on 23 February the CEC ordered the LGEC to transport all election material and documentation to Tirana.
In Hekal commune, [4/ Fier Region] where the count was also blocked, the CEC ordered the LGEC on 23 February to transport all election material, including the ballot boxes, to the CEC premises escorted by CEC personnel.
On election day and throughout the counting process, the police forces continued to perform their duties in a professional manner. They were able to maintain order under circumstances that were at times difficult, and their involvement was called upon only when tensions resulted in physical violence. Observers noted the particularly commendable performance of the police during the count in Gjirokastër.
Announcement of Results
Reported problems with the software for compiling and processing election results prevented the CEC from posting preliminary results on its website on election night, although it had received some results from LGECs. Initially, the CEC relied on result spreadsheets received by fax, but only 152 LGECs had access to a fax machine. Later, the CEC published preliminary results based on aggregate tables of results physically delivered by LGECs to the CEC. The transmission of results was particularly slow in the large urban centres. As of 25 February, the CEC had only published the results for 331 LGUs.
While the vast majority of LGECs sent the election results for their LGUs to the CEC in the week following election day, this was delayed in a number of LGUs where disagreements between political parties or candidates hampered the counting process and the announcement of results. This ultimately led to significant delays in the transmission and publication of election results, far beyond the deadlines envisaged in the Electoral Code.
The CEC took decisions aimed at unblocking the counting process in a number of LGUs. Specifically, the LGECs in Tirana Borough No. 10, in Durrës Municipality and in Hoçisht commune were ordered to deliver all the election documents and materials to the CEC although the tabulation had not been finished and decisions on the announcement of results had not been taken. These decisions could often have been taken earlier, and apart from the case of Bushat, the CEC has not undertaken any further steps following its initial orders to deliver all the election documents and materials to Tirana, where they may be used as evidence in the hearing of possible complaints.
To date, the counting of votes for the Shupenza commune council [5/ Dibër Region] remains blocked due to a dispute over some ballots for the council, which were found in ballot boxes for the mayoral race. Three inspectors sent by the CEC on 25 February did not manage to resolve the issue.
IV. POST-ELECTION COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS
From 19 to 25 February, a total of 144 complaints concerning election results were filed with the CEC. These include 40 requests to invalidate the elections in specific LGUs, and 28 requests to invalidate the elections in specific voting centres. [6/ 6 A high number of complaints pertain to the Regions of Fier (14 per cent of all complaints filed), Lezhë (12 per cent), Elbasan (11 per cent) and Gjirokastër (9 per cent)].
During the reporting period, 123 complaints and invalidation requests were considered by the CEC in public meetings. In more than 60 cases, the CEC has postponed the hearings in order to investigate evidence. About 55 complaints were not accepted for examination on procedural grounds, while seven complaints were rejected as lacking grounds and/or evidence. In six cases the CEC did grant relief; as a result, the election results for local councils were revised in five LGUs, as were the results for the election of mayor in one LGU.
Pursuant to Article 161/2.3 of the Election Code, the CEC has ten days to decide on complaints pertaining to election results. Thus far, the CEC has demonstrated genuine efforts to handle disputes in an expedient and efficient manner, in line with the 13 January amendments to the Electoral Code that streamlined the procedures for the examination of complaints and invalidation requests. The amendments also explicitly granted the CEC the right to evaluate election documentation and materials, including ballots.
The CEC is to establish the final results of the local elections at the national level only after the resolution of all complaints and appeals. Provided that the resolution of such disputes is concluded within the envisaged legal deadlines, 26 March would be the last date for announcing the results at the national level. To date, however, one LGEC still has not concluded the vote count, which may delay the announcement of final results beyond 26 March.
In addition to the administrative procedures of seeking redress, a number of claims for initiating criminal proceedings have been filed with the prosecutors’ offices. The General Prosecutor’s Office reported that 36 criminal charges were filed in the period 18 -20 February. Most alleged criminal offences related to the abandonment of duty by election officials and to intimidation of voters and candidates. A number of people were detained in the context of these elections. In Ndroq commune, [7/ Tirana Region.] three people were detained in connection with a serious violent incident during the vote count, and one of them was held in pre-trial detention. As a result of this incident, one person was seriously injured and had to be hospitalized.
In Tirana, charges of falsifying signatures in connection with the registration request of Mr. Akile Rama as a candidate for Tirana mayor were filed against the Chairperson, Secretary General and Organizational Secretary of the Democratic National Front Party. The first two were detained, while the third one was placed under house arrest.
The OSCE/ODIHR EOM will continue to follow the handling of complaints and appeals by the CEC and the Electoral College.
The Ministry of Education and Science and DG Research of the European Commission presented the Seventh Framework Program (FP7)
Tirana, 16 March, 2007 - The Ministry of Education and Science and DG Research of the European Commission presented on Friday the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) - as the European Union's main financial instrument with an approximate value of 53 billion Euros.
The program aims to promote scientific research and technological development in Europe and beyond. FP7 - is being presented for the first time in Albania, and it creates space for the involvement of research institutions, academic and scientific research bodies, non-for profit organizations and/or any other company of any scale applying to realize their innovative ideas through collaboration with their European and worldwide colleagues.
Mr. Genc Pollo, Minister for Education and Science, highly appreciated the Seventh Framework Program FP7 commenting in his speech that: "We have to make essential efforts in order to re-establish the role of science and education in our national development, economic growth and competition, and in this context the full integration of Albania in this Program is a major Objective of the Ministry of Education and Science."
Considering FP7 an encouragement of the reforms of education in Albania, the Minister Polio announced that the Ministry of Education and Science is willing to coordinate, support with financial incentives, and assist in this program every applicant coming from all beneficiary communities.
"The FP7 presentation in Albania clearly indicates the high esteem that Europe have in the scientific and academic potential of each country, including Albania, and represents an invitation to integrate Albania in this first community program" highlighted Ambassador Helmuth Lohan, Head of the European Commission Delegation in Tirana.
FP7 activities are focused mainly on key scientific and technological development. Four Specific Programmes in 10 major fields are created to address the main scientific priorities of EU in the next years. Running from 2007 to 2013, the FP7 supports scientific research and technologic development in sectors such as health, agriculture, biotechnology, information & communication technologies, energy, environment, transport, social and human science. All these projects will be financed through a variety of EU schemes and financial instruments.
"Albania fully benefits out of this program by its status as third country. The Objective should be its full membership in the shortest possible time. All the countries in the region are moving forward to this direction. We hope that the Albanian Institutions shall appreciate the offer made by Brussels"- Ms. Tania Friedrichs, EU Commission representative said in her introduction.
The Ministry of Education and Science believes that considerable number of universities, research institutions, individuals or private enterprises will be involved in this framework program.
Accessing Carbon Finance to Address Global Warming in Albania
Tirana, February 28, 2007 - The World Bank together with the Government of Albania will conduct a workshop and clinic, “Accessing Carbon Finance”, for government officials and local project developers who can potentially benefit from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol. Albania ratified the Kyoto Protocol on April 1, 2005 shortly after this international and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions world-wide entered into force on February 16, 2005 following ratification of the agreement by 55 countries.
Emissions of greenhouse gases are partly responsible for the rise in global temperature and the uncharacteristic global weather patterns. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a priority program under the Kyoto Protocol to avert the damaging consequences of global warming. The World Bank is addressing the global climate change issue by promoting the benefits of emission reduction projects.
The carbon finance workshop will be held at the Sheraton Hotel. Workshop participants will be introduced to the role of the World Bank in supporting the Kyoto Protocol and how eligible countries and enterprises could benefit from the carbon funds managed by the World Bank.
After the workshop, a one-day clinic will be conducted for registered project developers interested in pursuing carbon finance projects. The World Bank team will provide technical assistance to the registered clinic participants on processing and documentation requirements of carbon finance projects. Several enterprises have already indicated their interest to participate in the clinics covering the gas and oil sector, municipal sector (municipal services and water), and small-scale carbon finance projects.
The workshop also will include sessions specific to the Designated National Authority (DNA) to assist them in implementing the Kyoto Protocol. The sessions for the DNA will be limited to the government officials responsible for managing the processes under the protocol.
For further information please contact Ms. Drita Dade or Ms. Ana Gjokutaj at the World Bank office in Tirana at”Deshmoret e 4 Shkurtit” Street, Tirana, Albania, tel:355 4 280 650/1, Fax:355 4 240 590
EU provides 1 million euro support to improve external audit of the state budget
The European Union has launched a Twinning project in support of external audit, the main beneficiary being the Supreme Audit Institution of Albania. The 1 million euro project which is funded under the CARDS 2004 Programme commenced on January 15th and will run for a period of 20 months. The Twinning partners responsible for implementing the EU-funded support are the United Kingdom's National Audit Office (NAO) and the Dutch Court of Auditors.
The project aims to actively help the SAI to enhance the level of public service, accountability and transparency in auditing the state budget, and reporting to Parliament. The medium term objective is to create a more modern external audit service prepared to properly audit the expenditure of all funds
"This project will increase transparency in the use of public money, so that money is used effectively and efficiently. It will thereby improve public services for the benefit of all Albanian citizens", said the Head of the EC Delegation in Albania, Ambassador Helmuth Lohan, during the launch event.
Belgrade, March 21, 2007 – President of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Sanda Raskovic-Ivic said last night that Serbia, with Russia’s support, must insist on continuation of substantial negotiations on Kosovo-Metohija’s status.
Raskovic-Ivic said to Television Pink after the session of the UN Security Council, that in her address she stated that Serbia got Russian support for continuation of talks, but that they should be under the umbrella of the Security Council this time.
She explained that Russia supported new negotiations with a newly appointed mediator as Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari himself said that he can no longer occupy that post since no compromise is there and he could not do anything better or different.
Raskovic-Ivic pointed to the justified fear that the situation in Kosovo-Metohija will not be discussed again before the Security Council should Ahtisaari’s proposal appear on its agenda, adding that there were even attempts not to invite an official representative of Belgrade in the last session of the Security Council.
According to Raskovic-Ivic, the plan was that only UNMIK Head Joachim Ruecker should address the Security Council, but Serbia’s mission at the UN, with Russia’s support, managed to have the Serbian representative appear at the session after all.
Raskovic-Ivic recalled that standards in Kosovo are being disregarded of late and discussed less than ever, which is why Serbia must keep stressing the importance of the standards implementation process.
She said the talks should certainly be resumed and added that she believes there are a number of countries in favour of a compromise solution which would preserve not only Resolution 1244 and the UN Charter, but also the principles of the Contact Group.
Serbian delegation strongly supports Russia’s advocacy of continuation of talks
Moscow/Belgrade, March 22, 2007 – Vice-President of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija and head of the economic team for Kosovo-Metohija and the south of Serbia Nenad Popovic stated today, prior to a meeting with highest representatives of the Russian State Duma and Russian officials, that the Serbian delegation will strongly endorse Moscow’s stance that talks on the southern Serbian province should resume.
In a statement to the Tanjug news agency, Popovic said that the Serbian delegation, led by Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Zoran Loncar and President of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Sanda Raskovic-Ivic, will point out the utter disrespect of international standards in Kosovo to their Russian collocutors.
Our delegation wishes to reiterate its support to the Russian initiative for the continuation of the talks in line with UN Resolution 1244 and the UN Charter, said Popovic and added that a compromise solution, acceptable for both Serbs and ethnic Albanians, may be reached only through negotiations.
Having said that an independent Kosovo-Metohija would be economically unsustainable, Popovic stressed that only within the widest possible autonomy in Europe can a sustainable economic development for Serbs and ethnic Albanians be achieved.
He also announced that the meetings with Russian officials will concern the economic potential and investments if the province is granted substantial autonomy, adding that Russia, as a world leader in energy, would surely be interested in investing in this sector in the province.
Tomorrow, on March 23, our delegation will talk with Speaker of the Russian State Duma Boris Gryzlov, as well as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Titov and Chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachov.
On March 5 2007, the Ambassador of the Republic of Albania in Belgrade, Mr. Spiro Koçi presented the Letters of Credentials to the President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Boris Tadiç.
In the course of their discussion the interlocutors highlighted the importance of good neighborhood relations, as well as the willingness of relevant governments for the further enhancement of these relations in fields of mutual benefit. Both parties underscored the necessity to establish a cooperating climate and a qualitative increase of bilateral and multilateral relations in the region. A special attention was attached to the cooperation in the frame of integrating processes of the region into Euro-Atlantic structures.
President Tadiç and Ambassador Koçi expressed their totally different views in regard to the settlement of Kosovo issue in accordance with the acknowledged stance of each country.
Denne kamp mod ufordrageligheden skal vindes og kan vindes gennem kombinationen af »hård« og »blød« magt i samarbejde med de moderne muslimer, der, hvad enten de er fundamentalister eller ej, ønsker samvirke og sameksistens. Hård magt mod terroristerne og deres bagmænd. Blød magt i form af støtte, samhandel, dialog og people-to-people kontakt med de moderne muslimer. Politisk magt gennem støtte til de regeringer, der er oppe mod fanatiske modstandere, og til arbejdet for at løse de mange uløste konflikter. Thi løses kan de, som Makedonien og Bosnien vidner om. Og fjendskab mellem muslimer og kristne behøver der ikke at være, hvad Albanien vidner om. Her takkede den muslimske statsminister Berisha mig i fjor for, at Danmark havde stået fast på ytringsfriheden i »tegningesagen«, for som han fra dag ét havde sagt til albanerne: Dette er Europa, dette er demokrati, og sådan er ytringsfriheden, som vi også værner. Og dette demokrati havde han selv og hans udenrigsminister, forfatteren Mustafaj [UM Besnik Mustafaj] faktisk selv kæmpet modigt for under Hoxhas inhumane, marxistiske styre, hvilket er endnu et bevis på, at islam sagtens kan udfolde sig demokratisk.Hele kronikken kan findes på: http://www.um.dk/da/menu/OmOs/Udenrigsministeren/Artikler/KronikFordragelighedOgUfordragelighed.htm
Lund, Sweden, March 11, 2007
Predictably, the Vienna talks about Kosovo's future broke down yesterday without any results. A resolution of the conflict - meaning an agreement voluntarily entered into by the parties - will not be possible. The rest will, we predict, be politico-diplomatic force or violence.
It could all have turned out differently, had the Kosovo conflict been dealt with in a professional manner.
TFF's first report, "Preventing War in Kosovo", was published 15 years ago. In the years following our Balkans team were goodwill mediators between three governments in Belgrade and the nonviolent Kosovo-Albanian leadership under Dr. Ibrahim Rugova. It lead to the production of a proposal for a negotiated settlement. In 1999 we protested the bombings of Yugoslavia as a means to create peace.
The present amount of either uninformed or biased-deceptive information circulating in media and politics about this conflict and its background is mind-boggling. The lack of creativity among so-called international conflict-managers such as the EU, NATO, the UN Envoy and the US is even more so.
The price is not paid by the conflict mismanagers-cum-power-politicians. It is now paid by the Albanians, Serbs, Romas and other people inside Kosovo and by citizens in the neighbouring countries. The Kosovo will be a heavy burden upon the EU, NATO and the international community for years to come - no matter what their leaders monotonously state about their own successful peace-making.
Why have things gone so wrong in this region? Why are political leaders still playing so many games? Are there still ways open towards a solution?
We can present some of the answers. TFF's team members have all worked 20-30 years with former Yugoslavia and made hundreds of fact-finding missions to the region.
We insist that knowledge cannot be replaced by "information" or "news" production coupled with ignorance. And we don't bother whether we are politically correct. That's why people trust TFF's analyses.
TFF Balkan page http://www.transnational.org/Area_Index_Yugoslavia.htm English and Nordic language articles
The Kosovo Solution Series - 10 articles http://www.transnational.org/Area_YU/2005/pi209_218_KosovoSolutSer.html
Aleksandar Mitic, TFF http://www.kosovocompromise.com/
Feature by others http://www.transnational.org/Area_YU/2007/Features.html
TFF's books and reports about former Yugoslavia, including "Preventing War in Kosovo" for 6 US$... http://www.tff-store-and-donations.org/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=TSD&Category_Code=YB
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