Further supplementary written evidence
submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
ON 25-26 OCTOBER
The United Kingdom would like to share with
Partners a report of the visit made by the United Kingdom's Minister
for Europe, Dr MacShane, to Belgrade, Skopje and Pristina on 25
and 26 October 2004.
In Belgrade Dr MacShane saw President Marovic
of Serbia and Montenegro; Foreign Minister Draskovic of Serbia
and Montenegro; Prime Minister Kostunica of Serbia; and President
Tadic of Serbia.
Discussion focused on Kosovo. Dr MacShane expressed
his disappointment at the low turn out of Kosovo-Serbs at the
Kosovo elections. Kostunica said it was expected given Kosovo-Serbs'
living conditions. Dr MacShane made clear to all four interlocutors
that now that the elections were over, the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue
must begin afresh without preconditions. Tadic and Draskovic agreed.
Kostuncia said he would re-assess the situation after decentralisation
was completed in Kosovo and that there needed to be a new arrangement
that combined the UNMIK and Belgrade plans on decentralisation.
Dr Mac Shane responded that while elements of the Belgrade plan
could enrich the UNMIK plan, the latter was the only basis.
On co-operation with the ICTY, Dr MacShane said
that it was double standards for Belgrade to expect human rights
and international law protection in Kosovo while at the same time
disregarding international law themselves by not co-operating
with The Hague. Marovic said that Belgrade believed that arresting
the four Generals would be destabilising, when in fact failing
to arrest them was more destabilising. Dr MacShane underlined
that the UK wanted Serbia and Montenegro in the EU and NATO.
In Pristina, meetings were held with the SRSG;
President Rugova, Prime Minister Rexhepi; Thaqi (PDK); Haradinaj
(AAK); Surroi (ORA); and Ivanovic (Serb list for Kosovo and Metohija).
Dr MacShane underlined the importance of forming
a new Government quickly to allow time to make progress in key
areas in advance of the standards review in mid-2005. His interlocutors
did not think a government would take long to form, but were cautious
about the different options.
Jessen-Petersen hoped that the new Government
could be formed without any overt international role. He said
that the priority after its formation should be agreement on decentralisation
and implementation of pilot projects. This would give more legitimacy
to the Kosovo Serb representatives than the turn-out in the elections
might otherwise provide. Dr MacShane and Jessen-Petersen discussed
In Skopje, Dr MacShane called on President Crvenkovski;
Deputy Prime Minister Sekerinska; Deputy Foreign Minister Hasanovich;
the leader of the ethnic Macedonian opposition (VMRO-DPMNE), Gruevski;
and leading ethnic Albanian DUI MP, Arifi.
The agenda was dominated by the referendum on
local government reorganisation. Dr MacShane told his interlocutors
that while the opportunity to hold the referendum was provided
for in the constitution, it represented a direct challenge to
the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and so to
the country's applications to join the EU and NATO. This was a
matter of grave concern.
President Crvenkovski said that he thought the
referendum result would be close, although the turnout was likely
to be low. Deputy PM Sekerinska highlighted that the coalition
would be campaigning in public over the next fortnight against
the referendum. Gruevski said that if the referendum succeeded,
experts should work closely with the international community in
working out a new territorial reorganisation package. Dr MacShane
made clear that the Ohrid Agreement was the only framework. Arifi
confirmed she would promote a restrained and constructive approach
amongst ethnic Albanians.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office