Strasbourg, 12.12.2007 – The potential for finding a compromise between Belgrade and Pristina over Kosovo’s future status has been exhausted, according to the Political Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). The UN Security Council should now overcome existing differences and impose a solution, the committee said in a draft resolution adopted yesterday, but if it was incapable of achieving a unanimous position, it was “not to be excluded” that Kosovo would make a unilateral declaration of independence. In this case, the EU should “endeavour to achieve a single position” towards such a declaration.

In an accompanying memorandum the rapporteur Lord Russell-Johnston (United Kingdom, ALDE) went further, declaring: “I shall repeat my personal view that, in the absence of a mutually accepted solution, independence is the only viable solution.” He said it was not unreasonable to question Serbia’s “moral right” to govern Kosovo given “the disastrous policies of the past”.

But the head of the Serbian parliamentary delegation Miloš Aligrudic (Serbia, EPP/CD) said: “It is premature to draw the conclusion that negotiations have failed for good. We should not give up our efforts to find a compromise within the framework of international law.” He announced that his delegation would draw up a dissenting opinion to the report.

In the draft resolution, the committee called on the parties to keep their pledge to preserve peace and dialogue in all circumstances and to refrain from any incitement to violence. Regardless of what solution is found, the parliamentarians said, Kosovo  should be a multi-ethnic area “safe for all those who live in it”, where Council of Europe standards are fully enforced.

The report is due to be debated by the Parliamentary Assembly on Tuesday 22 January, during its next plenary session in Strasbourg (21-25 January 2008).

The full text of the draft resolution is available at:

http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/APFeaturesManager/defaultArtSiteView.asp?ID=727