13 November 2005 - UN SPECIAL ENVOY CALLS FOR FINAL STATUS TALKS ON KOSOVO [PRESS COMMUNIQUE]
Ambassador Kai Eide, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to Kosovo, has told NATO parliamentarians that the time has now come to begin discussions on the final status of the troubled Balkan province of Kosovo, officially part of Serbia.
"The political process must now go forward… I do not believe that waiting 3, 6 or even 9 months will bring us any further forward on the outstanding issue… There is no good moment to address the problem of Kosovo, but the time has come to raise it," Ambassador Eide told a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) on Saturday.
Mr Eide, who was one of the key note speakers at the Assembly's 51st annual session currently underway in the Danish capital Copenhagen, described the problem of Kosovo as "an open wound" in the heart of Europe and said the international community must be mobilised to provide "clarity" on the issue.
"Today more Kosovo Serbs are leaving than returning, that is the reality of the situation," he said, adding that you cannot ask people to return while you cannot describe what sort of administration or status rules the province.
He stressed that this was now an issue of paramount concern for many other ethnic groups who live in Kosovo not just Albanians and Serbs whose historic enmity burst into open warfare in 1999. NATO then intervened to stop the bloodshed and the province was placed under UN administration.
On November 1, the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, reacted to a comprehensive report by Mr Eide on Kosovo's future by appointing the former Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari, as his special mediator in proposed talks between the province's Albanian majority and Belgrade, which is totally opposed to demands for independence.