Rossin: ‘standards before status’ remains unchanged

Brussels, 24 November 2004 – Koha Ditore reports that PDSRSG Larry Rossin attended a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels and a conference dedicated to the economy of Kosovo.

Rossin said in Brussels that the March riots in Kosovo constitute a setback and a proof of stagnation. He said that the process of decentralization would continue and
that it would involve several pilot projects, and added that decentralization could not be made along ethnic lines and with enclaves.

The paper quotes Rossin as saying that if there is a positive review of standards implementation next year, the process of addressing the status would begin. This would prove to Kosovars that the international community doesn’t want any setback to take place.

Rossin said he was certain that the changes in the government would not result in delays in standards implementation. As an obstacle in this process, Rossin mentioned the lack of cooperation from Belgrade and the Serbs, adding that the Serb Orthodox Church had played a role in this respect by calling on Serbs not to take part in assembly elections.

Rossin also said that SRSG Jessen-Petersen would present the first technical report on standards implementation to the United Nations this week.

At the same meeting, the PDSRSG was asked about his expectations on the US engagement in Kosovo. Rossin said that he went to Brussels as UN official and therefore he was not competent to talk about US foreign policy.

Commenting on the same issue, Alexandros Yannis, representative of Solana’s office, said he expects the cooperation between EU and US to continue even after the latest changes, ‘because this cooperation is needed to preserve stability in Kosovo.’

Rossin and Yannis both outlined that cooperation with The Hague Tribunal should be done without any preconditions and that no one has the right to refuse cooperation
with the Tribunal.