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South Eastern Europe

SI Consultations on the future of Kosovo

30 November 2005

A Socialist International round of consultations on the future of Kosovo took place in Sofia on 30 November 2005.

These consultations included Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, President of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, as host; both Co-Chairs of the SI Committee for South Eastern Europe, George A. Papandreou, Leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, PASOK, of Greece and Adrian Nastase, Executive President of the Social Democratic Party, PSD, and President of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania; Secretary General of the Socialist International Luis Ayala; Chair of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Democratic Party, Serbia, Vuc Jeremic; Leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo Hashim Thaci; Prime Minister of FYR Macedonia and President of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, SDUM, Vlado Buchkovski; Chair of the Social Democratic Party of Albania Skender Gjinushi; former Prime Minister of Albania Ilir Meta; Arta Dade of the Socialist Party of Albania; and Ivailo Kalfin, Foreign Minister of Bulgaria.

The gathering provided an opportunity for the parties directly concerned to address this challenging and delicate issue.

Underlining the importance of the parties themselves finding solutions, the discussions brought up points of agreement, among them, the essential need for a democratic, multi-ethnic Kosovo, with full respect for the human rights of all its citizens; of a Kosovo integrated in the region and within Europe, with economic opportunities and employment and prosperity for all of its citizens and the means to combat organised crime. Participants also agreed on the necessity to avoid instability in Serbia and Montenegro and in Kosovo; to avoid an imposed solution which could lead to further conflict if the matters of final status and the future Constitution remained unresolved by those parties directly involved; and to oppose the multiplication of secessions and the creation of "greater" nations which could lead to human rights violations, ethnic cleansing, extreme politics and politicians and further instability.

Participants reiterated the vital importance of fostering the development of multi-ethnic societies and of stability based on democratic values and on the recognition that real security is the result of inclusive policies that benefit all. The development of a common European perspective and the role of the European Union in achieving this were considered to be essential.

Participants agreed on the need to continue working in support of the political forces in Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo who share social democratic values and principles, recognising that these have been central in achieving democracy and in advancing conflict resolution and stability in the region. They also agreed to work for developing a climate of confidence and trust, and of creating further opportunities for dialogue with and between the parties concerned. They equally expressed their support for the work of Martti Ahtisaari and the role of the United Nations in the search for a solution accepted by all.

A special panel to discuss peace and stability in the Balkans will be included in the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the Council of the Socialist International, which will take place in Athens on 30-31 January 2006.

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