Mediators say there has been no hint of a compromise over the future status of Kosovo, ahead of the first round of direct talks next week. Envoys at a preliminary session in London urged both Serbs and ethnic Albanians to reach agreement. But Kosovar Prime Minister Agim Ceku insisted independence was the key: “I think we have made clear once again that independence is a done deal for us. We have made once again very clear that independence is not something that we are looking at in this part of the process. Independence is our starting point for the continuation of this process.”
Serbia and Russia, however, have rejected a western-backed plan granting internationally supervised independence to Kosovo. Kosovans, says analyst Naser Myftari, are doubtful that next week’s talks will bear fruit: “The talks, the extended talks, that have begun between Pristina and Belgrade, will likely fail to produce any results, provided that the two parties have diametrically opposed stands, opposed views.”
Security has been stepped up in readiness to confront any outbreak of violence in the NATO-run province. A progress report is due at the UN by the 10th of December. Pristina says if no agreement is achieved by that date, it will unilaterally declare independence.