9 October 2006 - NATO PARLIAMENTARIANS VISIT KOSOVO [PRESS COMMUNIQUE]
NATO parliamentarians visited Kosovo on 4-6 October on a fact-finding mission. Members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's Political Committee met with senior representatives from the international community, including KFOR, UNMIK, and the EU's Senior High Representative. On its way to Kosovo, the delegation met UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari in Vienna, whilst in Pristina it held meetings, among others, with Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku and President Fatmir Sejdiu, as well as with leaders of the Kosovo-Serb community.
NATO legislators were "impressed" by the competence and dedication displayed by KFOR troops under the command of General Roland Kather. Karl A. Lamers (Germany), head of the NATO PA delegation, said he and his colleagues were "impressed by the work done by NATO and partner countries in Kosovo". Mr Lamers added that the Assembly wholeheartedly supported the work of Mr. Ahtisaari, and encouraged all parties in Kosovo to fully engage in the status process and related technical talks.
In talks with the representatives of Kosovo Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), the NATO PA delegation said that the joint future of Kosovo and South-East Europe lies in full European and transatlantic integration, which rules out any form of discrimination and requires the establishment of the rule of law. The delegation also understood that a solution would have to be supported by the people of Kosovo and would have to improve living conditions for all. Mr Lamers and his colleagues called upon all Kosovo leaders to explain to their electorate that any compromise will require sacrifices from both sides.
Members of the delegation shared the view that the preferred outcome of the negotiations is an institutional arrangement that will allow for the establishment of a stable multi-ethnic society in Kosovo. Moreover, the outcome of the negotiations should allow to support and monitor the further implementation of the standards established by the Contact Group to Kosovo PISG.
Mr Lamers said that as the governments of the NATO member states, the parliamentarians of the Alliance remained committed to securing peace and stability in Kosovo and in South-East Europe as a whole by ensuring an international military and civilian presence as long as the situation requires.