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Kosovo Compromise Impossible, EU Envoy Says

DW staff (dc)December 3, 2007

The EU's representative in the troika mediating negotiations about the future status of Kosovo has said that, in his view, the talks have resulted in a dead end with no chance of reaching a compromise.

Ethnic Albanians pass graffiti that reads "No negotiations - self determination"
The graffiti "No negotiations - self determination" sums up the impasseImage: picture-alliance/dpa

"After intensive efforts made during the past 120 days in finding common points, I think there are no additional options that would lead towards a Kosovo status solution based on compromise," EU mediator Wolfgang Ischinger told the Belgrade daily, Blic.

Ischinger also said that the troika's report does not include any proposals defining the Serbian province's future status.

Serbian officials meanwhile continued to express optimism for continuation of the Kosovo status talks.

"We believe that the negotiation process does not end with the report of the troika, rather, that it is yet another phase, more successful than the last," said Serbian Kosovo Minister Slobodan Samardzic.

Independence a possible scenario

Ischinger, along with US envoy Frank Wisner and Russian envoy Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, made a final visit to Belgrade and Kosovo to brief rival Serbs and Kosovo Albanians on their report following four months of talks.

The final report is due to be handed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on December 10.

The leaders of Kosovo's Albanian majority have said they will proclaim the region's independence soon after this date. Serbia is only prepared to grant autonomy styled after the model of Hong Kong or Finland's Aland islands.

Wolfgang Ischinger
Wolfgang IschingerImage: AP

Speaking to Blic, Ischinger said that a "possible scenario" would be that the leaders of Kosovo Albanians unilaterally declare independence.

"My impression is that this step shall be coordinated with the EU, US and other countries. One thing is clear: the status quo is unsustainable and a decision is necessary."

Ischinger said that as regards the question of how the international community should act towards Kosovo after December 10 would be answered differently in the capitals of the EU, Russia and the US.

Only Russia supported Serbia's view that Kosovo should formally remain its province.

Washington was in favor of Kosovo going independent under international supervision, a plan also endorsed by most EU nations, although the 27-nation bloc failed to reach a consensus.

International community fears violence

The international community is fearful that a declaration of independence could reignite tensions, resulting in violence. Last week, NATO reinforced its 17,000-strong KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo with US and German troops.

However, Ischinger told journalists that both Serbian and Kosovo Albanian leaders have pledged to refrain from resorting to violence. "That is very important for the road ahead," he said.