Kosovo provisional President to represent Pristina in UNbacked Vienna talks

Press reports from Kosovo had said PISG Prime Minister Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi had refused to attend the talks. In a press statement issued yesterday in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, the Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan for Kosovo and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK), said, “The whole international community has worked tirelessly to support President Rugova and other Kosovo leaders who wish to give the people of Kosovo the chance to be represented on a broad basis at the opening of direct talks between Pristina and Belgrade in Vienna on Tuesday. “Since it has proved impossible to include leaders of the Government of Kosovo in the delegation, Kosovo will be represented by President Rugova, who is the symbol of the unity of a multi-ethnic Kosovo. Nexhat Daci, President of the Assembly, will also be in the delegation,” he said. Also scheduled to attend are ranking diplomats from the so-called Contact Group – the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and the Russian Federation – as well as NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson, European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and Chairman-in-Office Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Mr. Holkeri said, “Whatever the difficulties within the Government, we hope that when the real technical talks in the Working Groups begin, Kosovo’s Institutions will make a full commitment to help resolve the issues to be discussed, which are of direct practical interest to all the people of Kosovo.”

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