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Serb official: U.N. envoy for Kosovo should wait to present plan until new Cabinet formed

Serb official: U.N. envoy for Kosovo should wait to present plan until new Cabinet formed

Serbia's outgoing government sternly warned a U.N. envoy Sunday not to present his plan for the breakaway Kosovo province to Serbian negotiators until a new Cabinet is formed following recent elections.
Serb government minister Zoran Loncar reacted angrily that Martti Ahtisaari, the special U.N. mediator tasked with proposing a future status for the troubled southern province, intends to visit Belgrade to present his plan Friday.
"It's unprecedented that a European country is expected to discuss issues crucial for its future at a time when a new government is not in place," Loncar said. Serbia held parliamentary elections Jan. 21.
Ahtisaari could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday.
He unveiled his plan to Western and Russian diplomats in Austria last week, without publicly revealing the details but intending to present them to the rival sides _ Serbs who are opposed to Kosovo's independence as well as to Kosovo's ethnic Albanians who want to secede from Serbia.
Belgrade has long been at odds with Ahtisaari, accusing him of bias in favor of the Kosovo separatists and anticipating that his proposal will open way to Kosovo's secession.
Last year, Ahtisaari mediated largely inconclusive talks on Kosovo's future, then drafted his own proposal. He already had postponed its presentation until after the Serbian elections, but said he would not wait a few more weeks until the political parties in Belgrade forge a new governing coalition.
Loncar also accused Ahtisaari of allegedly ignoring Serbia's stand on Kosovo while designing the crucial plan.
"Maybe Ahtisaari secretly created the paper with the representatives of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians. Belgrade took no part in writing the paper," Loncar claimed.
Kosovo has been an international protectorate since the 1998-1999 war between Serb forces and the ethnic Albanians who form a majority in the province. Serbs consider Kosovo as a historic part of their state and still home to their ancient churches and other heritage.
The issue of Kosovo figured prominently in the Jan. 21 vote, partly enabling the ultranationalist Serb Radical Party to clinch most seats in the country's parliament, but without an outright majority to govern alone.
Moderate political parties, including the pro-Western Democrats of Serbia's President Boris Tadic, and the center-right conservatives of the current Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica are expected to form a new government. Talks on a new Cabinet begin Monday.


Updated : 2021-04-11 20:25 GMT+08:00