Kosovo: “Technical issues” hinder train connection Prishtina-Skopje

Prishtinë, Dec 17, 2005 – The date of the inaugural train journey Prishtina-Skopje is not yet known, although officials of the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunication of Kosovo vowed it would take place tomorrow, on December 18, Kosovar daily LAJM informs.

Sources inside the ministry told the newspaper that the date had been postponed. “This issue has a political impact,” the source said.

Meanwhile, UNMIK official blame the Government of Macedonia, which at the last moment insisted for some technical issues to be discussed.

“UNMIK und Kosovo Institutions have been working closely with the Macedonian government on re-establishing the train connection between Prishtina and Skopje,” said UNMIK Pillar IV Spokesperson Mechthild Henneke. “Discussions had touched on an inaugural train journey departing on Sunday, 18 December. The Macedonian government has recently expressed a desire to address some technical issues before the inaugural train journey can take place.”

Macedonian authorities have no concrete answer. But, sources told Lajm that officials of the Macedonian Ministry of Transport and Communication and the Internal Ministry met officials of the Customs Directorate, asking for this issue to be intensified.

Nevertheless, sources inside the Macedonian Government say that the inaugural train journey will not take place soon, because initially the two ministries should sign a protocol, and afterwards an inter-governmental meeting.

“I can not tell you exactly when the inaugural train journey can take place; though, we are working on this issue,” said Lidija Stancevka, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunication.

For the time being, officials from this ministry say that the Vallkova crossing point does not meet the standards; therefore the Bllaca crossing point should be used.