Wien, 23. November 2006 Press release

Plassnik: "Constructively solving the last piece of the Balkan puzzle"

23.11.2006

Foreign Minister meets with Special Envoy for Kosovo Joachim Rücker

Vienna, 23 September 2006 - "The status talks led by Martti Ahtisaari are undoubtedly in the forefront of public interest. However, they must not veil our view of the needs of the people in Kosovo. We must continue to work consistently on improving the living conditions of all the inhabitants of Kosovo," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today in Vienna after her meeting with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Kosovo and Head of the Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Joachim Rücker.

"The main issue is the implementation of standards for the protection of minorities and for the promotion of democracy and the rule of law. The UN mission led by Joachim Rücker plays an important supportive role for the government of Kosovo", continued Plassnik. "It is our common goal to guarantee life in security and dignity for all citizens of Kosovo", said the Foreign Minister.

In this connection the Foreign Minister also emphasised that the Serb population would best represent its own interests by actively participating in the Kosovarian institutions.

"Looking to the future and dedicating every effort to the European process of reform and rapprochement - this is what brings positive momentum to the people in the region. Together we are working on a solution aimed at bringing lasting peace and stability in Kosovo and its surrounding region. Kosovo is the last piece of the Balkan puzzle that has to be solved. I expect prudent and constructive cooperation from all sides, with a sense of proportion and a realistic approach", continued the Foreign Minister.

The international community of states had been consequently supporting the improvement of the situation in Kosovo for more than seven years. "With the status solution, the EU will take over the leading supportive role from the UN. Preparations are fully in progress and by doing so cooperation with UNMIK is smooth. The EU will live up to its key responsibility", said Plassnik, referring to the fact that when Rücker took office he called himself the last head of UNMIK.

Contact:
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213
abti3(at)bmaa.gv.at