19-Dec-2007 00:05:03
The Security Council is unable to break the deep divisions on the future status of Kosovo. Belgium's Ambassador Johan Verbeke says that the positions made by leaders of Serbia and Kosovo's Albanian majority "confirm that their views remain irreconcilable." UNTV

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1. Wide shot, exterior, United Nations Headquarters


2. Pan right, journalists
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
"The time has come to move forward. I did call on our Russian colleague, Ambassador Cherkin, one final time, to embrace the Ahtissari plan as the sensible way forward with council endorsement. But, if he does not change their position, the United States, Europeans, and others, are determined to move forward with the implementation of that plan in order not to allow the situation to get out of control in Kosovo and pose a threat to peace and stability."
4. Cutaway, reporter writing on pad
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
"Well, they are wrong, we've had quite a number of legal experts; European, American; spending many months on this issue, and it is the judgment of our lawyers that 1244 does not preclude the implementation of the Ahtissari plan"
6. Cutaway, cameras
7. SOUNDBITE (Albanian) Fatmir Sejdiu, President of Kosovo:
"We have gone through a long and difficult process of negotiation, both led by president Ahtissari and the international troika to the point where all possibilities of an agreement have been exhausted"
8. Cutaway, Ambassador Verbeke walking in
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Johan Verbeke, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations:
"Their views remain irreconcilable on the fundamental question of sovereignty. The Contact Group report to the Secretary General about the Troika negotiations has also made that point. It is clear in our view that more negotiations in this or any other format will not make a difference. We therefore endorse the view of the European Union and US negotiators in the Troika that the potential for negotiated solution is now exhausted."
10. Cutaway, reporter writing on pad
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Johan Verbeke, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations:
"We would have liked the Security Council to play its role, but, as today's discussions have once again showed, the Council is not in a position to agree on the way ahead. We regret this, but we are ready to take on our own responsibilities."
12. Cutaway, Ambassador Cherkin walking in
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Vitaly Cherkin, Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations:
"As to resolution 1244, it must be observed in its entirety. If the European Union were to want to deploy its mission to the region, to Kosovo, they would have to get the approval of the Security Council. This is our position, and any move towards unilateral independence would clearly be outside the limits of international law and outside the limits of resolution 1244, and the United Nations should disregard that kind of declaration of independence and call on Pristina to repeal it, if things were to develop in that direction."
14. Cutaway, cameras
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Vitaly Cherkin, Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations:
"Certainly Russia is not going to recognize an unilateral declaration of independence, and I can assure that there will be very many countries in this building whose attitudes to that will be very negative. But let's not jump to conclusions."
16. Walk in, Prime-Minister Kostunica
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Vojislav Kostunica, Prime-Minister of Serbia:
"We will keep on defending, in that manner, Serbia. We will actually take care of the countries and possible suits (against) the countries, legal suits against the countries that are violating international law."
18. Cutaway, reporter writing on pad
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Vuk Jeremic, Foreign Minister of Serbia:
"Serbia certainly does not want to contribute to the self fulfilling of this prophecy. Serbia believes that dialogue is possible, that dialogue is viable and we are going to continue using all our diplomatic efforts to make sure that in the end of the day there is a continuation of the status dialogue in whichever shape or form, mandated by the United Nations. So, I don't think that it's the time to elaborate on the measures that Serbia is going to take, but as I said, Serbia is going to use literally everything that is in the arsenal of a sovereign state, short of military force, to make sure that its vital national interests, including territorial integrity, is defended."
20. Wide shot, cameras.


The Security Council today held a private debate over the future status of Kosovo, a Serbian province where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and other minorities by nine to one.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the debate, as did Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia's Prime Minister, and Fatmir Sejdiu, the President of Kosovo, a nation which has been run by the UN since Western forces drove out Yugoslav forces amid inter-ethnic fighting in 1999.

At the end of the Security Council session, and after not being able to reach an agreement, the different actors spoke to the press, expressing their opposing views.

While the Kosovo Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), as well as United States and its European allies expressed their unwillingness to continue debating and their determination to implement the Ahtissari plan; Serbian and Russian representatives said that more dialogue is still possible.

Earlier this month, a report submitted to the Council by the troika – comprising the European Union, Russia and the United States – noted that despite four months of intense and high-level negotiations, Belgrade and Pristina have been unable to reach an agreement on Kosovo's final status. The province's Albanian leadership supports independence but Serbia is opposed.

"Neither party was willing to cede its position on the fundamental question of sovereignty," the report said.

The troika was established after a stalemate emerged over a proposal by Mr. Ban's Special Envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, for a phased process of independence for Kosovo.

Mr. Ahtisaari declared talks on the future status of the province deadlocked in mid-March, a little more than a month after unveiling his proposals, which aimed to address the demands of a multi-ethnic society.

His plan called for a constitution enshrining principles to protect the rights of all communities, including culture, language, education and symbols, as well as 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.
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