Brüssel, 7. December 2007 Press release

Plassnik on Kosovo: "The fog is lifting"

07.12.2007

Foreign Minister at the "Transatlantic Dinner" in Brussels

Brussels, 7 December 2007 - "The failure to reach a status solution for Kosovo is an increasing factor of insecurity for the entire Balkans. This last open status issue in the region must be finally solved," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on the sidelines of a transatlantic meeting in Brussels, which was attended by the Foreign Ministers of the EU Members and the NATO States, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "The Kosovo Troika has examined every corner, leaving no stone unturned. The possibilities for negotiations have already been exploited to the full. December 10 is around the corner. EU and NATO will demonstrate unity and the necessary determination to find a sustainable solution for the status of Kosovo," Plassnik continued.

"What we need now is prudence on all sides. The EU has made it clear to Pristina that it must avoid any hasty steps - and this message is being understood. Yet there must be no threatening gestures from Belgrade either," stressed the Minister, adding that "The fog is lifting. The contours are becoming clearer. The cornerstones of a common approach have been defined. Security Council resolution 1244 remains the basis for the international presence, regardless of the future status of Kosovo."

"Last week’s Kosovo Security Conference in Vienna has made it clear that security for all the people of Kosovo - Serbs, Albanians, and members of other ethnic groups - is a common concern of the international community. EU and NATO shall continue their civil and military presence in Kosovo and will work closely together. The EU is willing to assume a leading role in the implementation of a status solution and thus contribute to regional stability. The future of Serbia and Kosovo lies with Europe. Yet the main responsibility for security and stability lies with the people in Kosovo themselves. They must ensure the acceptance of others and an undisturbed continuation of the different identities. Regardless of how the status problem is solved," said Plassnik.

"Especially now, the people in Kosovo need our support. Austria will continue to make a substantial contribution to the stabilization of Kosovo and thus of the region as a whole. The Federal Government and the Parliament recently decided to increase the Austrian contingent from 600 to up to 700 troops. Moreover, next year Austria will take over the command of the multinational force in Southern Kosovo. Policemen, judges, and public prosecutors complement our mission for the development of the rule of law in Kosovo," stressed the Foreign Minister.

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