Main Stories 5 February 2008 __________________________________________________ Independence in February (Express) Krasniqi: Independence to be declared in February (Dailies) Betting date: February 17 (Koha Ditore) Sarkozy: Independence is inevitable (Zëri) Steinmeier: Kosovo is not Taiwan (Dailies) Kosachyov: Russia will block independence of Kosovo (Koha Ditore) Ready to begin with the mission (Express) Janjic: The process of declaration has begun (Express) Samardjic calls on Serbs not to leave Kosovo (Zëri) Ahmeti and Mahmuti meet with Thaçi (Dailies) Kosovo Media Highlights Independence in February (Express) Express reports that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, within two days at a meeting with the heads of the most powerful Western diplomacies, will decide the date for the independence of Kosovo, which will most probably not be postponed any later than 20 February. “It is expected that in this meeting it will be decided that latest by 20 February, Kosovo will declare its independence based on the package of President Martti Ahtisaari,” an unnamed source told the paper. Krasniqi: Independence to be declared in February (Dailies) President of Kosovo Assembly, Jakup Krasniqi told the media that independence is expected to be declared during February. Krasniqi did not go into details about the date but said it is enough to know the timeframe. Krasniqi made the statement after meeting Bardhyl Mahmuti, leader of Albanian Democratic Union from Macedonia. Betting date: February 17 (Koha Ditore) The paper writes that many international officials in Brussels expected that Kosovo institutions would announce the date of declaration of independence on Monday but this did not happen. “We think this was a wise move from Pristina’s part and we think that when we will have declaration of independence there will be no need to announce the date beforehand,” an EU official told the paper. The paper further says that there were voices in Brussels who argued that independence should be declared on 9 March, following elections in Spain. By the end of the day there was general agreement that independence of Kosovo should not be declared before the EU signs the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia. Several EU officials contacted by the paper said that if they had to bet on the date when independence would be declared, they’d put their money on February, namely 17 February, a day ahead of the EU foreign ministers meeting. Sarkozy: Independence is inevitable (Zëri) Citing information broadcast by Rompress, Zëri reports that French President Nicholas Sarkozy said yesterday in Budapest that the independence of Kosovo is inevitable. After a meeting with his Hungarian counterpart, Sarkozy added that independence should happen in the best possible circumstances and that Europe should remain united on this issue. The Hungarian President said Romania would remain loyal and a partner of the European Union about the decision, but would not recognize the unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Steinmeier: Kosovo is not Taiwan (Dailies) Dailies quote German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier who, speaking about Kosovo’s final status, said that “history can not be stopped”. “We wanted to have a negotiated solution with Serbia, but that didn’t work, and now we can not stop the flow of history”, papers quoted him as saying. On the question why Taiwan can not be a state and Kosovo can, Steinmeier said that Kosovo is a different problem adding that Kosovo is the last unresolved problem after the brake of Yugoslavia. Kosachyov: Russia will block independence of Kosovo (Koha Ditore) Head of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Russian Duma, Konstantin Kosachyov, said that Russia will try to block independence of Kosovo on an international level. “Russia should use every opportunity at its disposal to block admittance of Kosovo as an independence state in the UN,” he said. He added that Russia will be able to block Kosovo’s membership to the OSCE as well. Ready to begin with the mission (Express) Express quotes Serbian news agency Tanjug reporting that the European Union has approved, through a quick procedure, a document which enables deployment of the EU Mission in Kosovo. Now the political decision of the Council of Ministers remains to be made, which will be called “Operation Plan.” Janjic: The process of declaration has begun (Express) The paper quotes Serb political analyst, Dusan Janjic, as saying on Monday, that after the Serbian presidential elections, conditions are ready for the start of the process of declaring Kosovo’s independence according to Martti Ahtisaari’s Plan. Janjic also said that by 18 February the Kosovo Assembly will make the declaration and call on the Government of Kosovo to prepare the Constitution and on the European Union to support Kosovo’s path toward Europe. According to Janjic, this will be sufficient for the EU to deploy its mission in Kosovo. Samardjic calls on Serbs not to leave Kosovo (Zëri) Zëri reports that the Serbian Minister for Kosovo, Slobodan Samardjic, said yesterday in Hoçë e Madhe, near Rahovec, that regardless of Kosovo’s status, Serbia would forever remain with Kosovo Serbs and called on them not to leave their homes in Kosovo. Samardjic, who also visited the town of Rahovec, promised local Serbs that Serbia would invest in their settlements and would open new jobs in order to secure their survival. “My message for Serbs in Hoçë and Rahovec is to remain in their homes, regardless of the developments,” Samardjic was quoted as saying. Ahmeti and Mahmuti meet with Thaçi (Dailies) Papers report about the visit the leader of Albanian Democratic Union in Macedonia, Bardhyl Mahmuti, and the Leader of Democratic Union for Integration, Ali Ahmeti, paid to the government of Kosovo, where they meet with key Kosovo politicians. During their visit to Pristina they met with the Assembly Speaker Jakup Krasniqi, Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi and the president of Kosovo, Fatmir Sejdiu. Kosovo Press Headlines Koha Ditore Front page Bet day: 17 February Symbol proposals go to the Assembly Jakup Krasniqi: Independence will be declared in February Steinmeier: Kosovo cannot be compared to Taiwan U.S. policy towards Kosovo does not change Sarkozy: Kosovo’s independence, unavoidable Constitution is being lectured, it will be presented on 8 February Other headlines Albania will be alongside Kosovo after declaration of independence (4) Kosachyov: Russia will block Kosovo’s independence (4) Italian government informed of judge Maurizio Salustro violations (5) Serbia will be with you, whatever happens with Kosovo (6) Vllasi: Status does not depend on Tadic (6) No telephone code without independence (8) It’s time to say the truth in Serbia (10) Zëri Front page How much does Tadic’s victory in presidential elections influence on Kosovo’s status? EU countries agree to send the mission to Kosovo Editorial: February of decisions Pristina announces declaration of independence this month Steinmeier: History cannot be stopped Sarkozy: Kosovo’s independence, unavoidable Ahmeti and Mahmuti want the date of Kosovo independence declaration not to delay Other headlines U.S. and EU: Serbs chose the road of European integration (2) Kosovo Serbs split in three groups (3) Committed to cooperate with all countries that supported Kosovo (4) Samardzic asked Serbs not to leave Kosovo (6) Constitution determines Kosovo will have its army, says Ramë Manaj (11) Kosova Sot Front page Winning symbols Editorial: There is no unilateral declaration EU decides, €205m for EULEX We will declare [independence] in February Other headlines Statehood laws to be approved soon (3) Sarkozy does not move from the pro independence stance (3) Moscow: We can block Kosovo’s entrance into OSCE (4) Samardzic in Hoça e Madhe (4) KPS: We are managing the situation (4) Kostunica is preparing a blockade for Kosovo (4) Te end of the game with radicals (5) Tadic’s election does not have an impact in Kosovo (5) Epoka e Re Front page He believes in Thaçi Independence can be delayed until March Red and black colour dominates, but… Sarkozy: Kosovo’s independence, unavoidable This is how your Italian compatriot “shares” justice Tadic’s victory does not fright them Other headlines EU has approved the framework for the mission in Kosovo (2) Solana: Solution for Kosovo to be found without delay (2) Steinmeier: History cannot be stopped (2) Holbrooke: Some parts of Kosovo will not recognise independence (2) Rupel: I do not believe Kosovo will declare independence soon (2) Serb coalition in doubt after liberals’ victory (3) He coordinates independence (4) Krasniqi: Declaration of independence, this month (4) Express Front page The date, in two days Immediate recognition Ready for the mission Symbols ready Other headlines Editorial: The great compromise (2) They are happy for Tadic (3) Steinmeier: History cannot be stopped (4) Rupel: Kosovo will declare independence soon (5) They will change (5) Lajm Front page Thaçi is also waiting for the date Red, black and white Independence does not depend on Tadic Fragile [Presevo] Valley Other headlines Steinmeier: History cannot be stopped (2) Declaration of inc – when U.S. and EU are ready (2) Basha: Preparations for the state are complete (2) EU approves the decision for sending the mission to Kosovo (3) Solana: No huge delays for Kosovo (3) Rupel does not believe Kosovo will declare independence soon (3) Kostunica is preparing a blockade (4) Samardzic visits Serbs of Bica [village] (4) Bota Sot Front page President Sejdiu: Kosovo’s independence will happen very soon EU approved the document for sending the mission to Kosovo Kosovo is one of the biggest successes of my career Five proposals for Kosovo’s flag and coat of arms got selected Other headlines Rehn: EU is ready to send its civil mission to Kosovo (2) Preparations for the declarations of independence are coming to an end (2) Kosovo is prepared for independence with constitution and state symbols (3) The government will cooperate with all countries that supported Kosovo (3) Krasniqi: Independence in February (4) Kosovo very close to the EU and NATO (5) InfoPress Front page KEK loses millions of euros per month The mission gets the green light Now, the declaration Rupel: I do not hope for quick declaration Other headlines Ready for independence (2) Paris and Bucharest with opposing stances (4) Russian Duma official, Konstantin Kosachyov warns (4) Steinmeier: History cannot be stopped (4) Kosovo, one of the topics of discussion (4) Declaration of independence on 15 February (5) Belgrade Media Highlights EU adopts Kosovo mission plan in urgent procedure (B92/Tanjug) Dismembering of Serbia the aim of sending EU mission to Kosovo (RTS) Samardzic calls upon Serbs not to leave Kosovo (RTS) Basesku: Romania firmly opposes independence of Kosovo (Beta) Titov: Kosovo issue only within the UN (Beta) Tadic: Peace and cooperation, with the respect of Serbia (RTS) Foreign governments congratulate Tadic (RTS/Tanjug) EU adopts Kosovo mission plan in urgent procedure (B92/Tanjug) The EU adopted a document to define its planned mission to Kosovo. The document, dubbed Joint Action, which deals with the legal and financial bases for such a mission was adopted in urgent procedure in Brussels, Tanjug has learned from its sources with the EU. Only a single formal step remains for an EU mission to sent to Kosovo to replace UNMIK there, and that is a decision by the Council of Ministers on the adoption of the Operative Plan, Tanjug's sources said. The mission would be deployed only a day after the Operative Plan is adopted. The most frequently mentioned date for this is 18 February, when the EU foreign ministers are due to meet. Dismembering of Serbia the aim of sending EU mission to Kosovo (RTS) Serbian Minister for Education Zoran Loncar said that if Serbia signs the political agreement with the EU, even after its decision to send a mission to create an independent Kosovo, Serbia would be the first to recognize the province’s independence. Loncar told Beta that the EU’s decision to send the political agreement to Serbia and to instruct its mission to Kosovo with the aim of dismembering Serbia just one day after the presidential election represents the overt blackmail of Serbia, the Minister underlined. He underlined that Serbia has always rejected blackmail, no matter who it came from, and voiced hope that the same will happen with this one as well. Samardzic calls upon Serbs not to leave Kosovo (RTS) Serbian Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic stated in Velika Hoca that regardless of the province’s status Serbia will always take care of the Serbs in the province and called upon them not to abandon their houses and homesteads. Accompanied by his associates, Samardzic arrived in Kosovo, and following Velika Hoca he also visited Serbs in Orahovac and said that this town is a modern European ghetto in which people live indoors, enclosed by barbed wire like they did in Warsaw during WWII. The Minister promised the Serbs in Orahovac and Velika Hoca that Serbia will invest in their towns and open new jobs to help them remain in their homes. He said that another huge problem is that Serbs in the Orahovac municipality farm only 30% of their arable land because the majority of fertile fields have been usurped. My message to Serbs in Velika Hoca and Orahovac is to remain on their land despite everything, stressed Samardzic. Basesku: Romania firmly opposes independence of Kosovo (Beta) Romania will be a loyal partner to other EU countries, but is firm in its position that it will never recognize unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo, stressed Romanian President Traian Basesku after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Bucharest. This was the reaction to Sarkozy’s assessment that independence of Kosovo was unavoidable and that the EU should find a unified position to do this in the best possible manner. Sarkozy had previously said that France welcomes the victory of Boris Tadic at the presidential elections and wants to send Serbia a pacifying message that its place is in the EU. Titov: Kosovo issue only within the UN (Beta) The solution to the Kosovo problem must be found only within the UN SC, stressed Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov. He warned the EU that there is no justification for achieving a legitimate role in the process of finding a solution by circumventing the SC. Brussels must not neglect the key role of the UN and the generally accepted principles of the resolving of crises, which entails the sending of a civilian mission to replace UNMIK in Kosovo, stressed Titov. Tadic: Peace and cooperation, with the respect of Serbia (RTS) Boris Tadic, the winner of the presidential elections in Serbia, said to his supporters gathered at the victory celebration that he wants peace and cooperation with all peoples, but others must also respect Serbia and its people. He told Serbs in Kosovo that he would never let them down and thanked all those that supported his idea, and this is, as he reminded, the idea of Serbia that conquers Europe through its work, people, and success. Foreign governments congratulate Tadic (RTS/Tanjug) The US Government congratulated Tadic on his victory at the presidential elections and promised to intensify cooperation with Serbia in order to accelerate its European integrations. State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack stressed that Washington wants to establish constructive ties with Serbia on all issues of common interest. Pointing out that Tadic had promised Serbian citizens a European future, McCormack underlined that the US would intensively cooperate with the Serbian authorities in order to fulfill this promise. The US congratulated Boris Tadic on his re-election and praised the citizens for the large turnout at the free, fair and democratic presidential elections, announced the US Embassy in Belgrade. It was underlined that Washington was determined to work together with Tadic and Serbian citizens in turning Serbia into a country that is set on further prosperity. The Serbian people have clearly chosen the path that will lead Serbia into Western integrations, where it belongs. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and PM Romano Prodi congratulated Tadic on his victory at the presidential elections, pointing out that the Italian Government would support the continuation of Serbia’s European integration. Reminding of the traditional friendship of the two peoples and the very good bilateral cooperation of the two countries, the highest Italian officials stressed that Rome was prepared to firmly support Belgrade on its path towards EU accession. The German Government has welcomed the election of Boris Tadic, assessing this choice as good news for Europe. The Serbian people have stressed that it sees Serbia’s future in Europe, which is good news for all of Europe, specified deputy spokesperson of the German Government Thomas Schteg. Tadic’s re-election was welcomed by other high representatives of many European countries, and countries of the region. The EU presidency congratulated Boris Tadic on his re-election as Serbian President and expressed belief that this will encourage progress of the country towards the EU, including the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement. The EU underlines that Serbia has a key role in the West Balkans and that the Serbian people are a part of the European family. They also welcomed the high voter turnout as well as the fact that they confirmed support to the democratic and European path of the country. EU High Representative Javier Solana said that the victory of Boris Tadic represents a sign that the majority of the people want to continue towards EU membership. Solana said that he was satisfied by the results and congratulated Tadic, assessing this as a great success for the president and the Serbian people, especially due to the large voter turnout. The election results are a sign that most people in Serbia want to continue European integrations and Europe is pleased by this, stressed Solana. According to him, the EU wants Serbia to accelerate EU accession, as this is the wish of the majority of the Serbian people. By re-electing Boris Tadic, the Serbian population has decided in favor of a policy aimed at progress, assessed Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik. She said that this is a decision to turn from the recipes of the past and a vote for the continuation on the European path. The large voter turnout showed that the people are aware of the importance of these elections, which decided Serbia’s path, stated Plassnik, adding that this is a confirmation of the country’s democratic maturity. As the president of all Serbs, it is up to Tadic to build bridges to include citizens into the European reform and integration process, as Serbia’s place is and remains in Europe, said the Austrian Foreign Minister. Russia is prepared to develop good relations with Serbia and to support it in its attempts to preserve its territorial integrity, said President of the Foreign Policy Board of the Russian Duma Konstantin Kosachov, commenting the results of the presidential elections in Serbia. Russian-Serbian relations will continue to improve, and as regards to territorial integrity, Moscow will naturally continue to support the Serbian leadership in this and hope that with joint efforts it will help prevent the situation from collapsing, said Kosachov. Russia will try to block the international recognition of Kosovo if provincial authorities unilaterally proclaim independence, said Kosachov. He said that Russia should use all its available possibilities to block Kosovo’s entry into the UN, and that as regards the OSCE, the consensus rule is in place, which means that Moscow can block Kosovo’s membership in that organization. Kosachov pointed out that the CoE by possibly recognizing Kosovo would be taking a political position, which is not usual for this organization and warned that the CoE would thus complicate relations with Russia. According to him, if Kosovo unilaterally proclaims independence, Russia would not recognize any documents issued by such a state. Disclaimer This media summary consists of selected local media articles for the information of UN personnel. The public distribution of this media summary is a courtesy service extended by UNMIK on the understanding that the choice of articles translated is exclusive, and the contents do not represent anything other than a selection of articles likely to be of interest to a United Nations readership. 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