Wien, 18. November 2005 Press release

Plassnik: "Tackling the regional challenges in the Balkans together"

18.11.2005

Plassnik met Serb-Montenegrin Foreign Minister Draškovic

Vienna, 18 November 2005 - Today, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik met with her Serb-Montenegrin counterpart Vuk Draškovic for talks which focused on regional questions relating to South-Eastern Europe such as the forthcoming negotiations on the future status of Kosovo and the future of the State Union of Serbia-Montenegro.

"We are supporting the State Union in its rapprochement with European structures. The start of negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU is an important step in this process," said Plassnik.

Referring to Kosovo, the Foreign Minister said: "The forthcoming negotiations on the future status of Kosovo constitute a big challenge. Their aim is to find a solution that is acceptable to all. Such a solution can only be found through dialogue. We can resolve existing problems only by tackling them together," continued the Foreign Minister.

"I am delighted that the chief UN envoy to Kosovo, Martti Athisaari, has accepted our offer to establish his office in Vienna. I think that we enjoy the trust of all partners and that this is why Vienna is valued and used as a venue for dialogue," said Plassnik.

"At the same time, and for years now, Austria has been contributing thematic input on areas such as decentralisation and the position of the religious communities. In our view, these themes will be decisive for the future of the Serb community in Kosovo," concluded the Foreign Minister.