Brüssel, 10. December 2007 Press release

Plassnik on Kosovo: "Strong signal of Europe’s commitment expected at EU summit"

10.12.2007

Foreign Minister on European Council in Brussels

Brussels, 10 December 2007 - "I expect the European Council to send out a strong signal indicating Europe’s commitment to Kosovo," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today in the lead-up to the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. "Stability in the entire region is of central concern. It remains our goal to ensure that all people in Kosovo can live there in security and dignity, regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliation," said Plassnik.

"The unity and solidarity of the European Union has markedly improved in the intensive talks and meetings that have taken place in the past few months. We shall proceed in a united manner based on solidarity. This is a process and not simply a moment of decision. We in Europe take this process very seriously and are fully aware that this issue is the litmus test for Europe’s external policy," emphasised the Minister.

Referring to the possible declaration of independence by Kosovo, Plassnik said: "Our friends in Kosovo remain in permanent contact with us and are fully aware of our attitude. What is now called for is prudence and reason on all sides - although I know that emotions are likely to run high during the coming days and weeks."

The Foreign Minister referred to the untiring efforts by the Kosovo Troika, which had tried "with much creativity and intensity" to achieve a negotiated settlement. "We in Austria have witnessed these negotiations from close quarters - not only as neighbours but often by providing the necessary infrastructure for the negotiations. The Troika, which was led by Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, has shone a light into every corner and turned over every single stone in order to make the two partners accept a negotiated settlement. Unfortunately, this opportunity has not been taken," concluded the Foreign Minister.

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