Monday, February 20, 2006

Status Talks Begin

Today the status talks for determining the final status of Kosovo began in Vienna.  For the first time, Serb and Albanian politicians are meeting face to face to discuss if Kosovo will be an autonomous state of Serbia or be conditionally/unconditionally independent.  Even though the Albanian negotiators are seeking independence, their negotiation with the government of Serbia is not welcome by all Albanians.  Albi Kurti's group was spreading posters today proclaiming "Wanted - Dead or Alive" with the names and pictures of the Albanian negotiation team.
The feeling is that the international contact group (US, Britain, Russia, Germany, France, Italy) seems to be supporting unconditional independence under the UN's supervision.  One of the main concerns of the talks are the standards that have not yet been reached.  The old mantra "Standards before Status" has been forgotten and areas such as freedom of movement and minority issues still need a great deal of improvement.