Monitored autonomy for Kosovo-Metohija only possible solution

Belgrade, April 28, 2007 - Advisor to the Serbian Prime Minister and coordinator in the Serbian team for negotiations on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija Slobodan Samardzic said today that monitored autonomy is the platform which serves as the basis upon which it is possible to institutionally integrate Kosovo-Metohija into the legal and political system of Serbia.

In a statement to the news agency Tanjug, Samardzic explained that the concept, which was presented by Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica to members of the UN Security Council Mission on April 26, in Belgrade, is the answer to the plan of "monitored independence".

According to this concept autonomy would be guaranteed by the international community and not just Serbia, and that is the reason why it is substantial and expanded autonomy, said Samardzic.

Samardzic said that what is important is that this concept has gained significance by the visit of the Security Council Mission.

Now everyone is familiar with this concept and the Serbian platform will receive far more attention than before, he said.

Member of the state negotiating team Aleksandar Simic said in a statement to the news agency Tanjug, that the concept of monitored autonomy presents the only solution for the Kosovo-Metohija issue, since it respects international law, while offering ethnic-Albanians the opportunity for self-governance, without influence by authorities in Belgrade and the Serbs.

The plan which was forwarded by the Serbian Prime Minister to the Security Council Mission, envisages that Albanians have all legislative, executive and judicial jurisdiction, with the exception of the areas of foreign policy and defence, customs and border control, monetary policy and protection of Serbian cultural and religious heritage in the province, explained Simic. He stressed that their connection with the rest of Serbia would be minimal, and they would have a large degree of autonomy, as well as constitutional guarantees and international legal guarantees in form of agreements for that type of autonomy.

According to Simic, the Kosovo Albanians could have representatives in the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, considering the fact that they would not be able to form and maintain international relations and conclude international agreements. He added that they could also have representatives in the National Bank of Serbia, if they would wish to participate in some elements of forming monetary policies.

Simic said that the idea is that the territory of Kosovo-Metohija is demilitarised, implying that there would be no armed presence in the province, apart from international forces, to guarantee the autonomy.

Serbian organs would conduct border control, and demilitarisation would lead to a situation in which there is no armed presence which could engage in alleged human rights violations. International forces would be obliged to guarantee peace and security and a certain period, which may last 20 years, could be used to improve relations between Serbs and Albanians.