Kosovo: China and Russia against telephone code for Kosovo

Prishtinë, Sept. 30, 2005 – Despite efforts of Kosovars and UNMIK, it will take some more time before Kosovo gets an international telephone code. This issue has now become a political and diplomatic issue. Moreover, it has gone so far that Contact Group member states asked for explanations from the ITU on why is this issue being delayed.

The letters exchanged between UNMIK and ITU read that Kosovo can not have its own telephone code before its final status is resolved.

Sources inside UNMIK told Koha Ditore that Belgrade has prevailed in this battle. “Belgrade lobbied with Russian and Chinese administrations not to let Kosovo have its own international phone code,” senior officer of UNMIK Legal Office, who chose to remain anonymous, told Koha Ditore.

In his last letter this month the ITU director of Telecommunication Standardization Bureau Houlin Zhao wrote to SRSG Jessen-Petersen that he could not allocate a phone code to Kosovo without consulting Serbia and Montenegro Union first.

Meanwhile the Serbia and Montenegro Union reacted saying that, “Pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1244, Serbia and Montenegro Union, and not UNMIK, has sovereignty over Kosovo. Therefore, Kosovo should use their code.”

Zhao asked from Jessen-Petersen that the issue of the telephone code be included on the agenda of talks with Belgrade. But Jessen-Petersen said that he would ask personally the UNSG Kofi Annan to solve this issue when visiting the UN HQ in New York.

“The UNSG took over to solve this issue,” Jessen-Petersen told Koha Ditore. “He has already initiated and supported this. Now we are waiting for an answer from the ITU, which we hope will be positive one.”

ECIKS / Koha Ditore