PRISTINA - SRSG Søren Jessen-Petersen welcomed the agreement of Kosovo political leaders on modalities of preparations for status talks and on dialogue with Belgrade. The leaders reached a consensus on these key issues in the second meeting of the Kosovo Forum facilitated by the SRSG in the UNMIK HQ this afternoon. The meeting was attended, among others, by President Ibrahim Rugova, 1st Deputy President of AAK and Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi, PDK President Hashim Thaci, ORA leader Veton Surroi and Vice President of LDK Kole Berisha.
"The Forum confirmed the need for the President and the political parties to focus on status preparation in a consensual manner," the SRSG said in a joint press encounter with political leaders after the meeting. "We agreed to establish a Secretariat with representatives of the Office of the President and of the political parties. The Secretariat will look closely, at the working levels, at the structuring and functioning of the Forum, and at how to organize preparation for the status process. The Secretariat may identify further measures and processes that may be needed as the process evolves," the SRSG said, adding: "The Secretariat will meet tomorrow and UNMIK will facilitate its meetings, at least initially."
The Forum also agreed today on the importance of the political dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, while recognizing the need for continuing the technical dialogues. "Such political dialogue should go ahead on mutually agreed time and venue, and all political parties have expressed their readiness to provide support and a platform for such a dialogue," the SRSG said, clarifying that the purpose of the political dialogue is not to discuss the future status but other issues "that would hopefully contribute to the normalization and stabilization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina as well as the region as a whole".
"UNMIK's role is to step back and have the political parties and the President out in front in the lead on these issues. And what we have done today, based on a proposal coming from the political parties and the President, is starting a process that in my view could easily evolve into the kind of platform that may be required for status discussions," the SRSG said, "For me it is a very important step...an example of the political parties taking over the process."