Belgrade slams renewal of Feith's mandate

Serbian Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanovic said that renewal of Peter Feith's mandate means extension of status quo in the province for another six months.

(KosovoCompromise Staff) Friday, February 26, 2010

"No solution can be found with a man who has placed himself at the service of Kosovo's independence. Feith is not acceptable to Kosovo Serbs. He communicates only with Albanians and only sends messages to Serbs, messages which are causing concern among the Serb community. This status quo has now been extended by another six months ", Ivanovic told Tanjug.

According to him, the EU should consider appointing a new representative for Kosovo as well as changing its mission.

Ivanovic believes that the EU should "understand the complexity of the situation, close the International Civilian Office, give up on Feith and form a new mission which would be entrusted equally to the UN and the EU in keeping with the Resolution 1244".

"A particular problem is the fact that Feith exercises two opposing functions - that of head of the International Civilian Office, which is working on the basis of Martti Ahtisaari's plan, and that of special representative of the EU high commissioner for foreign policy and security, which should make him neutral as regards Kosovo's independence," Ivanovic was quoted as saying.

EU Council of Ministers in Brussels has extended the mandate of the EU Special Representative in Kosovo Pieter Feith until August 31.

The decision was originally to be adopted at the meeting of the EU foreign ministers last Monday, when they extended the six-month mandates to practically all EU special representatives elsewhere in the world.

Concern was previously expressed by some members of the EU, which do not recognize Kosovo, such as Spain, which asked how Feith, as the holder of the EU mandate, would act neutrally regarding the status of Kosovo, if, as head of the International Civilian Office (ICO), he wishes to implement the Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo's supervised independence.

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak was the only one who spoke about this issue more explicitly at the meeting, when he said that Feith must respect individual views of all EU member-states when it comes to Kosovo.

Asked whether this was compatible with a plan ICO produced together with the Kosovo Albanian government, with the aim of bringing the province's northern, Serb areas under Pristina's control, Lajcak replied: "I do not want to make statements about the plan for northern Kosovo, because I do not know if this plan exists at all, and how much ‘authorization' there is."

"And, it is certain that it has never been discussed and even less so approved or accepted at the European institutions' level," the Slovak foreign minister concluded.