Kosovo is ready for negotiations to decide what status it should have after years under UN administration – that is the view of both UN Secretary General,Kofi Annan, and the world body’s governor in Kosovo, Sorren Jessen Petesen. It comes after talks with local leaders including the Prime Minister of Serbia, the Balkans power Kosovo’s majority Albanians want independence from.
The UN has had a Nato-led force in Kosovo since mid-1999 when Serbian troops were driven out to stop what the West said was Belgrade’s persecution of ethnic Albanians following their uprising. Many minority Serbs fled during and after the conflict and the remaining 100,000 complain they are now being persecuted. Autonomy will also be considered as an option in the status talks. But the Albanian leadership appear unwilling to agree to anything less than total separation from Belgrade Diplomats have said the major powers are leaning towards a form of ‘conditional independence’ under the supervision of the EU. For their part Serbs disagree with the UN view that the time is right for talks. They claim the required standards of democracy and minority rights within Kosovo are far from being met. The Serbian government has signalled that it was against the UN Secretary Council starting negotiations later this month as has been speculated.