02-May-2007 00:02:20
The head of the Security Council's six-day mission to Kosovo tells Security Council members that the positions of the sides on the settlement proposal for the province remain far apart. UNTV

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1. Wide Shot, UN building
2. Wide Shot, Security Council before the session
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Johan C. Verbeke, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations:
"In Belgrade on Thursday, 26 of April, the mission's main interlocutors, Serbian President Tadic and Prime Minister Kostunica, members of the negotiation team, the president of the coordination center of Kosovo and almost all members of the party caucuses firmly rejected the Kosovo resettlement proposal and any solution that would entail any form of independence for Kosovo. Instead they argued for substantial autonomy for Kosovo within Serbia and under international supervision."
4. Med shot, representatives in the Security Council listening
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Johan C. Verbeke, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations:
"Kosovo's society is still recovering from the wounds inflicted by the conflict. Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serb communities live to a large extend separately from each other. There are also differences in how both communities look to the future. While the Kosovo Albanians are confident about the future, the Kosovo Serb community is more apprehensive about it prospect for the future."
6. Med shot, delegates in the Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Johan C. Verbeke, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations:
"The mission noted the importance, stressed by many of promoting a European perspective for the region including Kosovo. These European prospects can provide the directions for future political and economic development and thus contribute to consolidate stability for Kosovo and by extension for the region as a whole."
8. Pan right, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Johan C. Verbeke, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations:
"In a situation where we have less than five percent Serbs returning to Kosovo, when we have still considerable difficulties for them to return, when we have a palpable atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in Kosovo, this is not the time for the Security Council to consider any kind of imposition of decision on Kosovo."
10. Med shot, journalists and cameras at stakeout position
Kosovo's ethnic Albanian and Serbian communities continue to lead largely separate existences and have very different outlooks on the future, which means creating an integrated, multi-ethnic society in the province will require "substantial effort," the head of a Security Council fact-finding mission said today.
Briefing the Council on the mission's six-day trip to Pristina, Belgrade, Brussels and Vienna, Ambassador Johan Verbeke of Belgium said the positions of the two communities on the settlement proposal for Kosovo also remained far apart.
The leadership of the Kosovo Albanian community backed the report issued in March by the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the future status process Martti Ahtisaari, who said the only viable option for the Serbian province – which the United Nations has administered since 1999 after Yugoslav troops were driven out amid fierce fighting – was a phased process of independence.
But the leaders of the Kosovo Serb community, as well as the mission's interlocutors in Belgrade, remained opposed to independence and wanted further negotiations on the long-term future of Kosovo.
Mr. Verbeke said this division was reflected in the communities' outlook, with Kosovo Albanians optimistic about what it holds and Kosovo Serbs concerned that their rights will not be sufficiently protected.
Although the fact-finding mission was impressed with the expressed commitment of Kosovo's political figures towards creating a more genuinely multi-ethnic society, he said the divisions between communities meant it would still require "substantial effort."
Mr. Verbeke stressed that the mission had been very useful in providing participants with a first-hand perspective of the situation inside Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and other groups by about nine to one.
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