Speaker: EU can have "full insight" into north

Serbian Parliament Speaker Nebojsa Stefanovic has said that Serbia will not close down its institutions in the northern part of the Kosovo province.

(KosovoCompromiseStuff) Friday, November 16, 2012

Instead, it intends to make their financing transparent and urge EU institutions to have a full insight into their operation, he stated during his meeting in Belgrade on Thursday with Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Rapporteur for Kosovo Bjorn von Sydow.

Stefanovic underlined that status neutrality of all international factors, including the Council of Europe, is important for all processes which should lead to normalization of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, noting that Serbia will not recognize Kosovo's independence.

Sydow expressed intention to enlarge the monitoring process in Kosovo, which should involve Kosovo institutions.

Sydow underlined that the goal of his visit to Belgrade is to hear the opinion of Serbian officials about the current situation in Kosovo ahead of the finalization of the report which will be submitted to the PACE in January, reads a statement by the office of the parliamentary speaker.

Noting that the previous report focused on the standards which should improve living conditions of all citizens of Kosovo not touching on the issue of status, Sydow said that his new report should concentrate on the strategy which would ensure respect of the European conventions by introducing the CoE monitoring along with programs which would considerably improve the situation in Kosovo.

Sydow also presented his plan for the monitoring process to spread to other standards as well, primarily in the areas of human rights and the rule of law, stressing that it is necessary to include all relevant Kosovo institutions in this process.

Stefanović said that Serbia will give support to the CoE programs which support the rule of law, ethnic equality and adoption of standards and joint European values until status neutrality is abandoned in these processes.

According to him, direct cooperation between the CoE and the Priština institutions would be in opposition to CoE Resolution 1739 and UNSC Resolution 1244.

Noting that Serbia will not abolish institutions in north Kosovo, Stefanović said that their closure due to Priština's inability to provide basic conditions of life to citizens in north Kosovo would mean their expulsion, which would result in an ethnically clean territory.

Aside constant jeopardy of Serbs' security, the issues of church, state and private property in Kosovo are also important problems which need to be resolved, Stefanovic said, adding that the upcoming talks should be conducted in peace and without threats to life and property of local Serbs.

Speaking about the upcoming report of Sydow, Stefanovic highlighted the report on Kosovo and Metohija by the EU Court of Auditors particularly pointing to the segments of the report which speak about the real situation in the field, adding that they should be tabled before the Council of Europe as well.

The two officials concluded that Serbia is a partner in the process of monitoring of standards in Kosovo within the Council of Europe, the speaker's office released.