Strasbourg, 22 January 2008 – Unless Belgrade and Pristina find a mutual acceptable variant on the definition of the Kosovo status, the only solution to the problem will be issuing independence to this region, Lord Russell-Johnston, PACE rapporteur, said.

Delivering a report to the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Russell-Johnston said that visions of Belgrade and Pristina on Kosovo are different and no proximity is foreseen in the positions. “This problem, which has become a ‘lingering conflict’ in the Balkans, impedes stability in the region and in Europe on whole,” Johnston said.

According to the rapporteur, the issue of independence for Kosovo will not be a precedent for other ‘lingering conflicts’ due to the uniqueness of the problem. However, Russell-Johnston has never faced a similar problem as the Balkans before.

Russell-Johnston critically regarded Russia’s position on the Kosovo resolution. “I cannot understand why Russia, which supported the separatist regimes in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, puts obstacles in the definition of the status of Kosovo,” the rapporteur said.

On 22 January the PACE winter session hosted discussions on Report 11472 concerning the future status of Kosovo.

Source: Trend News