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)
FERIZAJ/UROSEVAC, 25 June 2007 - Ambassador Werner Wnendt, the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, called today for a stronger commitment by Kosovo’s Provisional Institutional of Self-Government (PISG) central and municipal authorities to the protection of minority ethnic communities.
"Increased efforts are necessary to ensure the full integration of all communities into society," said Ambassador Wnendt. "As part of its mandate, the OSCE will continue to promote and support the protection of communities and to assist in implementing people’s fundamental rights.”
Ambassador Wnendt made the comments during a visit to Ferizaj/Urosevac where he made public an OSCE Mission report on civil registration of persons belonging to the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.
The report, based on interviews conducted by OSCE Municipal Teams throughout Kosovo, analyzes how instructions aimed at facilitating the registration requests submitted by applicants from these communities are carried out.
“Civil registration is a fundamental prerequisite for access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Everyone has the right to be recognized everywhere as a person before the law,” said Ambassador Wnendt. “However, it appears that 20 to 40 percent of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians living in Kosovo are not registered as habitual residents.”
The report suggests that although some municipalities have taken positive initiatives – such as the use of mobile teams to inform and register undocumented persons and the appointment of liaison officers – the overall legal obligations remain unfulfilled.
In order to remedy these shortcomings, the report recommends that central and local authorities do more to help ethnic minorities register, for example by establishing an inter-ministerial working group that would promote public awareness on the importance of civil registration and to carry out activities to reach these communities.
Ambassador Wnendt also met local religious leaders from the Islamic Community, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church to convey a message of peace, respect and tolerance.
After the end of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing campaign in 1999, the Kosovo Serbs that remained in Kosovo did not immediately recognise the newly-established United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Different factors such as limitations on lack of freedom of movement contributed to the de facto perpetuation of the Serbian administration. In Kosovo Serb inhabited areas structures such as courts, schools and hospitals continue to answer directly to Belgrade thus operating in parallel to the UNMIK administration.
In this report, the general term parallel structures is used to define bodies and institutions that have been or still are operational in Kosovo after 10 June 1999 and that are not mandated for under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. In the majority of cases, these institutions operate under the de facto authority of the Serbian government and assert jurisdiction over Kosovo from Serbia proper, or operate in the territory of Kosovo. These parallel structures operate contemporaneously with, or sometimes even under the same roof as the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) recognized bodies.1 In this regard, it is important to notice that the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan (KSIP), although legally not binding, required that parallel structures are dismantled or integrated into the PISG.2
The purpose of this report is to describe and analyse the effects of the parallel structures operating in Kosovo and to provide an update of the situation since 2003, when the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission in Kosovo (OSCE) last issued a report on parallel structures in Kosovo. Parallel courts, parallel security structures, parallel administrative structures related to property issues, parallel schools and parallel health care facilities are the main issues examined in this report. The report does not purport to cover every activity by the Serbian government in the territory of Kosovo.3
This report is divided into five chapters, each one providing an overview of the current situation and analysing the effects of the parallel structures that existed in 2006 in Kosovo. The OSCE made specific recommendations in 2003 on how to resolve some of the problems related to parallel structures in Kosovo. This report also contains recommendations that take into account the current political situation and the settlement process on the future status of Kosovo.
1 Administrative bodies responsible for property issues, established after 10 June 1999 sometimes recognize UNMIK’s mandate but also operate under the de facto authority of Belgrade. 2 Standard 1 on the Functioning of Democratic Institutions; Actions 1.1 – 1.3 require all PISG and UNMIK to develop a strategy to reduce demand for and dismantle parallel structures and integrate them into PISG structures; to start implementation of a strategy and negotiate with Belgrade on technical issues. 3 For example pensions payable by the Serbian authorities.
III. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The existence of parallel structures continues to have a substantial impact on Kosovan society. This report provides an overview of existing parallel structures in Kosovo and is a follow up to the “Parallel Structures Report in Kosovo” issued by the OSCE in October 2003. The OSCE has examined parallel structures in the areas of courts, security structures in northern Kosovo,4 property rights, education and health care in Kosovo, aiming to assess the decisions taken and the services provided by these structures as well as their effects on society.
The OSCE’s findings indicate that the continued existence of parallel structures in these areas is the result of three factors:
- The demand for parallel structures is linked to the continued lack of access by some members of the Kosovo Serb community to UNMIK and PISG services. The entrenchment of mono-ethnic enclaves has reinforced restrictions on the freedom of movement. This has made it very difficult for minority communities to access services, including health care, education and social assistance. It is difficult to envisage a reduction of demand and supply and an integration of these structures without first ensuring the equal access to services for all.
- The continued lack of trust of Kosovo Serbs in UNMIK and the PISG, based on their security perceptions and a feeling that they are being discriminated by the PISG.. The main factors why Kosovo Serbs prefer to use health facilities in their enclaves and in northern Kosovo are reported to be security concerns and a distrust of the quality of services provided by the PISG. Continued and increased efforts have to be made to address these concerns, through more active outreach efforts and more flexible and better service provision arrangements.
- Finally, the political situation and the unresolved status question have been a great obstacle to the integration of parallel structures. Several initiatives have been taken at the local level, and a few more by the international community to start the integration of parallel structures into Kosovo’s governance structure. Yet they did not have a greater impact due to a lack of political will from, and a comprehensive strategy developed by, the main parties concerned. It should be hoped that the ongoing status settlement will allow for agreements on the integration of these structures.
Many of these points are illustrated in the report’s initial chapter on the parallel courts operating in Kosovo. They have been analysed on different occasions and reported on regularly by the OSCE since 1999. The parallel court system, which began in 1999 and continues today, severely hampers the establishment of the rule of law in Kosovo.
4 For the purpose of this Report the reference “northern Kosovo” encompasses the municipalities of Leposavić/Leposaviq, Zvečan/Zveçan, Zubin Potok and the area of Mitrovica/Mitrovicë north of the Ibar River.
UNMIK (and the future international actors) and local authorities in Kosovo must address and resolve the following issues in relation to the court system:
1) The recognition, or non-recognition, of judgments by parallel courts, above all for the period between 1999 and January 2003;
2) The double jeopardy dilemma faced by UNMIK judges and prosecutors in light of parallel court decisions by district courts in Serbia; and
3) The dismantling or integration of the parallel court system.
UNMIK and local authorities in Kosovo have not yet addressed the issue of whether or how to transfer pending cases from parallel courts to UNMIK courts. More importantly, there is no agreement with the Government of Serbia to address and solve the problems arising when parallel Serbian courts assert jurisdiction over cases which fall under the jurisdiction of UNMIK courts. People must be able to obtain judgments that are legally recognized in both Kosovo and Serbia proper.
In its second chapter, the report examines some of the special circumstances pertaining to the security situation in northern Kosovo and illustrates some of these points. Since June 1999, there have been two main entities involved in parallel security in northern Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, the so called “Bridge-watchers,” and the police of the Serbian Ministry of Interior Affairs (Ministarstvo Unutrasnih Poslova – MUP). Their continued presence is, among many other reasons, including the continuing politicisation by local political leaders and Belgrade of criminal incidents,, the result of both the persistence of criminal incidents in the area as well as a lack of popular trust in the efforts of the international community and the PISG to prevent their occurrence. The continued tensions in the North, and ongoing discussions on its position within post-status Kosovo, limited the amount of information that could be collected on parallel security structures for this report.
The effects of parallel structures affecting property rights, access to education and access to health care raise additional issues. When looking at property rights it is alarming to notice the detrimental influence of parallel structures on the realisation of this right; ultimately this can lead, and has led, to loss of property for private individuals. As for education, Kosovan children of different backgrounds do not receive the same education because of the existence of two school systems with different curricula. In the past years, authorities have allowed separate structures to develop rather than address the issue of discrimination when it comes to health care. The PISG needs to create an integrated public service to address the lack of sufficient supply of healthcare and education of the Kosovo Serb community. In addition, segregation in public services and in particular the idea that a community can only be served by members of its own community, must be dealt with and resolved.
In many cases parallel structures operate as a de facto social welfare system. Particularly in healthcare and education where they are overstaffed. According to officials from the UNMIK Department of Civil Administration (DCA), the number of employees in the parallel healthcare system in Prishtinë/Priština servicing about 12,000 people equals the total number of municipal healthcare workers providing services for over 400,000 people. In this regard the additional source of income provided by the parallel structures remains an important factor keeping a large number of Kosovo Serbs in Kosovo.
The complexity of the issue indicates that political will needs to be mobilized on all sides for the development of a comprehensive strategy which is required for the integration of parallel structures. This strategy should systematically address the parallel demand and supply sides of service provision, and develop tools of policy enforcement.
Simply closing down parallel structures dealing with health care and education is not an acceptable solution. The final aim should be the comprehensive inclusion of the existing parallel public services into a unified system. The OSCE has compiled a set of recommendations to the PISG as well as the international community, particularly to UNMIK and its potential successor.
Præsident Moisiu's kontor har udsendt flg.: President Moisiu receives and holds talks with the United States President, George W. Bush.
June 10, 2007
The President of the Republic, Alfred Moisiu welcomed today with a solemn ceremony held at the Palace of Brigades the United States President, George W. Bush during the very first official visit of an American president in our country.
After the United States and Albanian national anthems were played and honoring our national flag, the two Presidents inspected the Guard of Honor, met with and greeted up close the members of the respective delegations.
Then in the presence of Mrs. Laura Bush and Ms. Mirela Moisiu and heads of the Parliament, constitutional institutions and leaders of the parliamentary political parties, it was held the medal ceremony: the National Flag Order – the highest honor paid by the President of the Republic – was bestowed upon the United States President, George W. Bush. At the end of the ceremony and after a confidential tête-à-tête meeting, the two Presidents joined the respective delegations in the premises where the bilateral talks were held.
During the bilateral meeting, President Moisiu praised the United States President visit as a historical one. Mr. Moisiu stated that this great day has been expected by all Albanians where they are with special joy. “Due to historic and contemporary reasons, – stressed President Moisiu. – Albania and Albanians have a high feeling of gratitude and respect for the American state and people.” In this context, the Head of state appreciated the United States support to our country for its NATO accession, stressed the significance of meeting the required standards to become members of this organization and pointed out the role of the Albanian politics in this.
President Moisiu re-iterated the position of the Albanian state that we continue to be the unwavering United States ally in the fight against international terrorism by emphasizing the Albanian viewpoint that the fight against terrorism is a just one and carries special values for the whole humanity.
Dwelling on the domestic developments, the President of the Republic pointed out the achievements and progress made during the years of pluralism throughout the development of democratic processes in Albania, especially regarding the strengthening of the Rule of Law, establishing the market economy and consolidating the role of civil society. President Moisiu stated that he views the visit of President Bush in our country also as an invitation extended to American businessmen and prestigious firms to invest in Albania.
A topic that was especially discussed due to its significance was also the issue of the status of Kosova. Both Presidents shared the same view that Kosova, as the last outstanding issue in the Balkans, deserves the independence and referring to this determination of the final status, President Bush stated that “The time is now.” They expressed the support for the Ahtisaari Plan as a realistic base for the final solution of the problem.
During the talks, President Moisiu while referring to the progressive developments in the Balkans, the increasing dialogue and collaboration climate, pointed out that the Albanian factor will continue to play the up to the present moderating and constructive role in preserving the regional peace and stability.
On his part, the United States President, George W. Bush expressed the gratitude for the warm welcome and reception of the Albanian state and people. The American President praised the positive transformations in our country, the up to the present progress and work done, which must continue also in the future for the further development and consolidation of democracy and expressed his conviction in the safe future for Albania. Mr. Bush also praised the role and work of President Moisiu. Mr. Bush emphasized the significance that the collaboration between the factions of politics has for the country, especially for major issues such as those of integration and others.
The United States President expressed a special gratitude and praise for the great support of Albania and its engagement in the peacekeeping missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and also about its contribution to peace and stability in the region.
President Bush also conveyed this high consideration to the twenty eight Albanian military men who have served as peacekeepers in Iraq and Afghanistan and who were present today in the Palace of Brigades. The two Presidents met with and greeted up close and personal these soldiers and were photographed with them.
President Bush Participates in Joint Press Availability with Prime Minister of Albania, Dr. Sali Berisha (June 10, 2007) Courtyard Council of Ministers Tirana, Albania
[PM Sali Berisha] Thank you heartily, Mr. President, from the bottom of our hearts, fulfilling ardent and long-awaited wish of all Albanians to have a special guest in their home. Tungjatjeta -- an Albanian word, means "may you have a long life." This is a most traditional greeting of Albanians that I chose to greet you on their behalf, on behalf of Albanians. Welcome to Albania, President Bush.
Mr. President, you are, today, an honorable guest and friend of a nation whose gratefulness and friendship towards your great nation and your country have been deeply embodied in the historic memory and in the conscience of its citizens. No other nation in the region or in Europe has ever gone through so much suffering, ethnic cleansing, racism, partitions, occupations, and severe dictatorships as we Albanians have. History was unjust and very severe to us. We have been blessed, however. We have won in all our efforts to defend our identity in Western oriented national vocation to emerge from the age of oppression to the age of dignity, from the age of darkness to the age of freedom. We have won because our just cause has always had the powerful support of the U.S.A., the greatest and the most precious friend of Albanian nation. God bless your great nation.
At the beginning of last century, President Wilson did not allow the partition of the newly proclaimed Albanian independent state. The U.S.A. recognized Albania 85 years ago. Your visit on this anniversary is its most beautiful crown, the climax of excellent, friendly relations between our two countries.
Afterwards, President Truman made big efforts to free Albanians from their Orwellian dictatorship. At the outset of the '90s, President George Herbert Bush and his administration provided an exceptional contribution to the fall of Berlin Wall, but the fall of this wall in Tirana, as well, opening the doors of freedom for Albanians.
President Bill Clinton led the North Atlantic Alliance in the fight for Kosovo liberation from the barbarian occupation. And today, Kosovo citizens find in your administration, Mr. President, the greatest hope and support for their project of a free, independent, and integrated state in Europe. Centuries ago, until our present days, hundreds and thousands of Albanians migrated to your great country. They are loyal and honorable citizens of the United States who have always loved, and still love the nation and the country of origin. They have -- (inaudible) -- a lot, they have kept a life of hope and freedom for Albanians always on.
In your presence, I'd like today to extend the most cordial greetings and my deepest gratitude. The friendly feelings towards your nation and your great country, the proud Americanism of Albanians are indeed a matter of their national pride. Albanians are very proud about the friendship with the U.S.A., and the cooperation they have with your nation in the war against international terrorism, of their presence on your side in Iraq, Afghanistan. I assure you that they will be on your side wherever their modest, but resolute contribution is needed against international terrorism, this most dangerous enemy of free people.
Above all, Albanians feel proud of their friendship with your nation because we share the values and the principles of freedom and market-oriented democracy. In this road, they have received an exceptional overall political, economic, financial, and technical assistance provided by the U.S. and the EU countries and other friendly countries, for which we remain truly, always grateful.
Sixteen years ago, Secretary James Baker brought to Albanians the message from the country of freedom, "Freedom works." Today, after 16 years, I can say that despite the hardships experienced by our country, freedom for Albanians has worked more than any other nation. Albania, a country of denied freedoms and human rights, banned the constitution, a country of hyper collectivization and true human slavery, and the most extreme isolation, today is the country of political, economic, consolidated pluralism, of excellent religious centers, of functioning, working democracy. It is the country with a fast economic growth, with the private sector accounting for 80 percent of GDP. And the income per capita has increased 20 times more.
Albania is the country that signed -- that is implementing successfully their stabilization association agreement with the EU, and received the message from Riga summit on the possibility of receiving an invitation for NATO membership. It is a country that welcomes today the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush.
God bless Albanians. Ladies and gentlemen, in our talks with President Bush, we have discussed our excellent, friendly bilateral relations and their further development. I informed him of other reforms launched by my government, and their results are strengthening the rule of law, the zero tolerance fight against organized crime, the valuable assistance that law enforcement agencies from the United States and other friendly countries are providing to this end. We talked about the fight against corruption and the much-expected assistance that a series of projects funding by the Millennium Challenge Account, related to e-taxes, e-procurement and one-stop shop, offer in this regard, and other reforms in the judicial system, police, education, et cetera.
I briefed President Bush on the significant reforms that we are undertaking in the view of turning Albania into a very attractive country for U.S.A. and foreign investors -- other foreign investors. We hope that this visit will encourage others.
A special place was the question of Albania's membership into NATO as the main priority of Albania. In this regard, we have decided to increase our defense budget to 2 percent of GDP, to triple our presence in Afghanistan, and implement with seriousness the requirements of the ninth MAP cycle. In addition, let me mention that 90 percent of Albanians support Albania's membership to NATO. The support of President Bush and his administration is of a vital importance to Albania for membership into NATO as the most secure future.
We discussed about the situation in the region. After this press conference, we'll continue the discussion in the framework of Adriatic Charter A3, with the very good friends of Albania, the Prime Minister of Croatia Ivo Sanader, and Prime Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski.
Special attention in our discussion was given to solution of the final status of Kosovo in compliance with the proposal of President Ahtisaari for its independence as a -- gradual independence as a precondition for stability and peace in the region.
Ladies and gentlemen, in December 1990, students and citizens in Tirana took to the streets and the squares, shouting, "USA"; "Long live President Bush." We want Albania like the rest of Europe. President Bush visit Albania in 2004 and 2006, and Mr. Jimmy Carter before. And after this visit, Mr. President, our country will be visited by other Presidents of the United States. But in the memory of Albanian citizens, the great honor that you made to them with your first visit of a United States President in office in Albania.
Thank you very much, Mr. President Bush, great friend of my nation.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Mirdita. (Laughter.) Thank you for having me. Prime Minister, thank you for your hospitality. I thank the President [Moisiu] for his hospitality, as well.
I'm proud to be the first American sitting President to visit Albania. It's a great honor to represent my country here. I've really been looking forward to this trip, and so has my wife, Laura. The reason being is that I love to come to countries that are working hard to establish the institutions necessary for a democracy to survive. I'm particularly pleased to be here in Albania, in a country that has casted off the shackles of a very repressive society and is now showing the world what's possible. And I congratulate the people of Albania, and I thank you for the warm welcome we received on your streets.
We had a very good discussion. I learned a lot about your ct. I learned the fact that this is a country that embraces the markets, is willing to do necessary reforms to make sure that the small business person survives, the entrepreneur is strong, that the tax code is fair. I'm impressed with the desire of the government to fight corruption, to make it clear that the government is of the people, that the government can be trusted by the people, by routing out those who would use their exalted positions to steal from the taxpayers. I appreciate that kind of commitment, Mr. Prime Minister.
I appreciate the fact that Albania is a model of religious tolerance. And I appreciate the fact that Albania is a trusted friend and a strong ally. And this visit today hopefully will send a signal to the people of Albania, you can count on America, just like America can count on you, to do hard work necessary to spread freedom and, therefore, peace.
We discussed a lot of issues -- we discussed Iraq and Afghanistan. I thank the Prime Minister and his government for putting troops in harm's way. Albanians know the horror of tyranny. And so they're working to bring the hope of freedom to people who haven't known it. And that's a noble effort, and a sacrifice. And I appreciate your sacrifice.
Albania has 120 of its elite commandos stationed in Iraq. I had the privilege of meeting some of the Albanian soldiers. Here's what I told them: I said, first of all, you are respected by our military. Your soldiers are good at what they do. They're well-trained, they're disciplined, they're courageous. I told them that the United States appreciates their contribution. So do the Iraqi citizens -- and also told them, when they went home, to make sure that they told their wives and their children, thanks on behalf of the United States of America, as well. The families are just as much a part of a soldier's life as the soldier, himself.
And so, Mr. Prime Minister, we thank you very much for your commitment to freedom in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan. The Prime Minister has announced that Albania will deploy 120 additional troops to Afghanistan this summer. These are two vital fronts on the war on terror, and the United States has a strong friend in Albania in this war. And I thank you.
We also talked about NATO and Albania's aspirations to join the NATO alliance. I commended the Prime Minister for the progress that Albania has made in defense reform -- in other words, part of becoming a member of NATO requires a reformation of the defense forces. And Albania is working hard to do that, as well as to meet performance-based standards for membership. In other words, you're just not accepted into membership; you just can't say, I want to join; there are certain standards that are expected to be met.
And so I talked to the Prime Minister, first of all, about my deep desire for Albania to join NATO. I support it. I also told him that there needs to be additional political and military reforms, progress against organized crime and corruption. And he understands that. He said, we're committed. That's what the Prime Minister said -- Albania is committed to meeting those standards. And I said, we're committed to help you.
And it's very important for the political figures here in this country to understand what's at stake. The politicians have got to work together now to meet the standards. They've got to set aside political differences and focus on what's right for Albania. If the Albanian people want to join NATO, then the politicians have got to work to meet the standards.
And so I call upon all in the government, government and the opposition, to do what is necessary to join NATO, and we'll support you and help you. I think it's best that Albania be a NATO ally. I look forward to welcoming you some day into NATO.
We also talked about Kosovo. I'm a strong supporter of the Ahtisaari plan. I said yesterday in Rome, the time is now. A fellow asked me a question, well, when does this end? When does the process end? I said, the time is now. In other words, I put a sense of -- I made it clear that -- two things, one that we need to get moving; and two, that the end result is independence. And we spent a lot of time talking about this issue here. The Prime Minister was anxious to hear my views. He wanted to make sure that what I said was clear for everybody, and what I said was: Independence is the result; let's get the process moving.
Now, we want to make sure that Serbia hears that the United States supports their aspirations for closer integration with the West. That means, working with the United States in a bilateral fashion. It also means potential membership of NATO, for example. I urged the Prime Minister to work with the leaders in Kosovo to maintain calm during these final stages, of Kosovo final status process. He assured me he would. He's got good contacts there, and Kosovars look to the Prime Minister of Albania and the President for Albania for leadership, and they're willing to provide it.
And so we discussed a lot of issues, and I must say I was very impressed by the conversations, impressed with the vision, and want to help. The United States wants to be a good ally and friend.
Again, I thank you again for the hospitality, and I know you're proud of the historic progress that you have made. May God bless the people of Albania, and, of course, the people of the United States. (Applause.)
A couple of questions here. He's calling on you.
Q You guaranteed President Bush that you will talk with the Kosovo leaders concerning the proposal of President Sarkozy that may lead to the Kosovars -- that they may self-proclaim independence. And what would the attitude of Albania be in this case? And did you touch this factor, this opposition with President Bush?
PRIME MINISTER BERISHA: We discussed at large about Kosovo with President Bush. What I may publicly transmit to the leadership and the citizens of Kosovo is that their project has the full understanding, good understanding and support, full support, of President Bush. And in this context, as before, now, as well, I don't expect and I don't advise any movement. On the contrary. I suggest persistence and calmness, cool bloodedness. Kosovo is in the heart of President Bush.
PRESIDENT BUSH: What's important is for the people of Kosovo to know that the United States and Albania strongly supports independence, as did most of the people in the G8.
President Sarkozy's recommendation was to try to provide some time for people to possibly work out differences. However, what would be acceptable to the United States, and I think most people in the G8, was that at the end of any process there be certain independence. That's what's important to know.
And that's -- the issue is whether independence or not; we strongly believe in independence. And then the question is, the diplomatic moves necessary to achieve that. I happen to believe it's important to push the process along, the time is now. And by that I meant that Secretary Rice will be moving hard to see if we can't reach an agreement. And if not, we're going to have to move. Independence is the goal, and that's what the people of Kosovo need to know.
Thank you for your question.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday you called for a deadline for U.N. action on Kosovo. When would you like that deadline set? And are you at all concerned that taking that type of a stance is going to further inflame U.S. relations with Russia? And is there any chance that you're going to sign on to the Russian missile defense proposal?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thanks. A couple of points on that. First of all, I don't think I called for a deadline. I thought I said, time -- I did? What exactly did I say? I said, "deadline"? Okay, yes, then I meant what I said. (Laughter.) The question is whether or not there is going to be endless dialogue on a subject that we have made up our mind about. We believe Kosovo ought to be independent.
The G8 discussions were all aimed at determining whether or not there is a way to make this acceptable to Russia. The ideal would be for Russia to say, okay, we understand and we accept this conclusion, as well. And, obviously, they're not there yet. And, therefore, the reason why I said there needs to be movement is that there just cannot be continued drift, because I'm worried about expectations not being met in Kosovo. That's what I meant. And, therefore, we'll push the process.
President Putin made an interesting proposal on missile defense for Europe. I suggested -- and I've made an interesting proposal for missile defense in Europe, by the way, all aimed at protecting Europe, not aimed at Russia. The reason I did is because the true threats we'll be facing will be from rogue nations that may end up with a deliverable weapon. So I thought it was in the interest of peace that we have the capacity to intercept such a missile, and, therefore, need to proceed.
And President Putin said, well, I think I've got an idea that makes sense. And this is the joint use of radar in Azerbaijan. I said, well, why don't we look at it? But during the discussions it became apparent that he also had doubts about the proposal I made as to its effectiveness or necessity. And I said, well, you put out an idea, and I put an idea, why don't we both get a group together to discuss our relative ideas in a transparent fashion; get people from your foreign ministry and we'll get people from the State Department and our respective defense departments and militaries to sit at the table and to share different ideas, to share ideas about technologies on how to intercept a missile, and radar positioning to make sure that there's effective coverage.
I thought his statement was an important statement to make. In other words, he recognized that there's an opportunity to work together. That's what friends do, by the way. Russia is not our enemy. As I said repeatedly, the Cold War is over, and now we're dealing with threats in the 21st century. And I appreciated his recognition that there could be an opportunity to work together to deal with those threats. I viewed it as a very positive gesture, and looking forward to continuing discussions on this very subject in July when he comes to Maine.
PRIME MINISTER BERISHA: I would like to add for the citizens of Kosovo and its leadership, in my discussions I found out consciousness and awareness of President Bush of the consequences of prolongation on -- unacceptable prolongation around justifiable -- prolongation of the process. And in this context, they should be clear that the President is aware of these consequences and is not willing them to be.
Q In your meeting with President Bush, what important place was occupied by NATO membership -- Albania being a member of NATO? Do you assure us that you have won the support of President Bush for quick integration of membership into NATO? And further, do you observe differences in speed of Adriatic 3 countries?
PRIME MINISTER BERISHA: I can assure you totally that President Bush and his administration support powerfully Albania's project for full membership into NATO. In this framework, I would say that this help and support has been of extraordinary importance in all reforms of democratic institutions of the armed forces, and in cooperation in the framework of NATO, during these years.
Of course, the invitation is defined to be given on the basis of performance. We are determined to take any decision, adopt any law, undertake any reform that would make Albania suitable to receive the invitation.
I think that the cooperation with Adriatic Charter A3 was very fruitful and very successful. Our three countries have common things in specifics. If we take the level where from which Albania started, and it's progress, it is one of the most evaluated, appreciated.
Second, Albania has a loyal cooperation with NATO for 15 years. I have to stress one moment, that in '99, when Milosevic cleansed 1 million Albanians from their homes, thousands of the area's homes, the friendly countries built camps to receive the refugees. But about 500,000 Albanian families turned their houses into tents of welcome for NATO. You may say they did it for Albanians. Absolutely, yes. But no one can prove that Albanians wouldn't do that for every citizen of another ethnicity who would be in need like the Kosovo people were at that time. Ninety-three percent of Albanians support membership into NATO. We have our own advantages.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. You've said that it's time to move the Kosovo -- the Ahtisaari plan forward. What specifically are you going to do to accomplish that, and at what point do you say, it's not working? And then what?
PRESIDENT BUSH: What you do is you get your diplomats working with Russian diplomats, as well as EU diplomats, to see if there is not common ground. In other words, there has to be an effort to see if we can't find a way for everybody to say, well, it's a good idea. And if you end up being in a position where you don't, at some point in time, sooner rather than later, you've got to say enough is enough, Kosovo is independent. And that's the position we've taken.
The people of Kosovo need to know that it is a solid, firm position. And even though there's diplomacy and talks, hopefully trying to find a way forward to accommodate Russia and Serbia and the EU -- by the way, most people in the EU are very much in favor. The EU position is for the Ahtisaari plan. They just hope that there is some way that we can reach an accommodation with a variety of interests, so that the transition to independence will be as smooth and easy as possible. But if it's apparent that that's not going to happen in a relatively quick period of time, in my judgment, we need to put forward the resolution. Hence, deadline.
Thank you all for your attention. Mr. Prime Minister, it was a great press conference. Proud to be the first American sitting President to actually hold a press conference on Albanian soil, as well. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 1:07 P.M. (Local)
President George W. Bush reaches into a U.S. flag-waving crowd in Fushe Kruje, Albania Sunday, June 10, 2007, as hundreds of townspeople turned out to celebrate the first visit by a U.S. president to their country. White House photo by Shealah Craighead
Tre ting står fast: Albanernes begejstring var stor, Præsident Bush var henrykt over den - og: Timex-uret var ikke på hånden til sidst. Var det blevet snuppet? Eller er der en kønnere forklaring? Jo, hele tre, så enten er én af dem sand - eller ... : 1/ Bush tog selv uret af og lagde det i sin lomme, 2/ Bush tabte det, men en hurtig Security man tog det og gav det (senere) til fru Bush, 3/ Bush rakte hånden bagud (i et ubemærket øjeblik) hvorefter én af Security'erne tog det af og gav det (senere) til Bush selv.
Hvad der er op eller ned, véd jeg ikke, men uret kunne naturligvis ikke være blevet stjålet; en indrømmelse ville vise at Security'erne ikke kan deres job (og dette ville opfordre til anden morskab) eller også ville Albanerne - Bush' bedste venner - få et kedeligt ry.
Der er efterfølgende skrevet en del morsomme kommentarer både i artikler og på blog's ... - I stedet for at citere dem, vil jeg give Det Hvide Hus det sidste ord: Nej, uret blev ikke stjålet, det blev blot taget i forvaring, og Bush fik det tilbage straks efter.
The Albanian Foreign Minister appeals for the immediate and resolute examination of Kosovo’ s final status issue.
Taking the floor in the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization being held today in Istanbul, on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the Organization, the Albanian Foreign Minister, Mr. Lulzim Basha underscored that “ the issue of Kosovo’s final status should be immediately and resolutely examined”
He re-iterated the Albanian Government’s stance in support of Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General. Minister Basha highlighted that “ Mr. Ahtisaari’ s package offers a fair, balanced, sustainable and lasting solution to a unique and unprecedented case, as Kosovo’s final status is.
In addition, he emphasized that Albania supports firmly the authorization on the part of the UN Security Council for the implementation of the said package.
In the meeting of the Organization whereby Russia is also a member, Mr. Basha underlined Albania’ s concern that the “ course of aversions and delays to this process is fraught with dangers for the region’ s peace and stability”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lulzim Basha called on all the UN Security Council Member States to support Ahtisaari’ s Package and adopt the resolution that facilitates its implementation.
During his stay in Istanbul, The Albanian Foreign Minister will have separate meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Turkey and Greece. Mr. Basha will also meet with his Serbian counterpart, upon the request of the latter.
Russian MFA Spokesman Mikhail Kamynin Commentary Regarding Western Quint Meeting on Kosovo
The western participants of the Contact Group held a meeting on Kosovo without the participation of Russia, in the so called Quint format (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the US and France), in Paris on June 12. Russia was not invited to this meeting. This fact in no way squares with the declarative statements of the partners on their willingness to continue looking for compromise solutions. The private discussions rather suggest preparations for unilateral scenarios for Kosovo independence.
All the more so as we know that the Quint meeting reaffirmed their support for the Ahtisaari plan as the only possible basis for a UN Security Council resolution on Kosovo.
To Russia such an approach is unacceptable. We stand firmly for the continuation of talks between Belgrade and Pristina to find a compromise on the province’s status. Only that version can be approved by the UN Security Council.
June 13, 2007
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