By Marija Ristic
Kosovo Serbs have dismissed Serbian President Boris Tadic’s plan to end the turbulence in Northern Kosovo, saying they rejected a similar plan years ago.
“The President’s proposal on North Kosovo solution is basically a copypasted version of the Ahrtisaari Plan. We did not accept this plan five years ago, so there will be no change of attitude now,” Marko Jaksic, vice-president of the Assembly of Association of Serbian Municipalities and Settlements in Kosovo and Metohija, said on Wednesday.
The Ahtisaari Plan was presented by Martti Ahtisaari, Finnish UN chief negotiator on Kosovo in 2007, but was never accepted by Serbia.
The plan recommended international recognition of Kosovo’s independence in return for the Kosovo government agreeing to decentralization and special protection for minorities, including education in their own languages, special health services and broad autonomy.
Aleksandar Vucic, vice-president of Serbia’s opposition nationalist Progressive Party, also condemned the President’s proposals, stating that he saw nothing new in the plan.
Tadic’s plan has not been disclosed in detail to the public. He sent a detailed version of the “four–point proposal” to the so-called Quint countries [Germany, France, Italy, Britain and US] this month but the plan itself was not made available for the broader public.
However, the plan is believed to advocate special status for Serbian Orthodox monasteries in Kosovo, guarantees for Serbs in the south of Kosovo, resolution of Serbian property claims and a special solution for mainly Serb northern Kosovo.
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According to media reports Tadic’s approach leaves aside the thorny question of Kosovo’s status. Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo’s independence.
Gerrard Galluci, former UN Regional Representative to Kosovo, said the plan deserved consideration.
“The recent ‘four-point proposal’ by President Boris Tadic may provide the foundation for a lasting solution,” Galluci said in an article published on the website of Belgrade think tank Transconflict.
The British and French ambassadors to Serbia and Kosovo have welcomed the plan as well, reportedly agreeing that the proposals “could open the door to a lasting solution”.
The plan was also presented to Philip Reeker, Deputy US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affair, during his visit to Belgrade last week.
After the meeting, Borislav Stefanovic, chief of the Serbian negotiating team with Kosovo, said the US showed understanding for the plan. Tadic’s Office was not available for comments on Wednesday.