Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Who is Blackmailing Who?

Macedonia 'Waiting' Over Kosovo Border

11 March 2008 Skopje _ Macedonia is still awaiting a response from Kosovo's authorities on demarcating their border, government spokesman Ivica Bocevski told media Tuesday.

The government has “officially contacted Pristina” about its proposal for a joint commission that would supervise the demarcation, Bocevski told media, explaining that it should start work “as soon as possible.”

The demarcation of the border was envisaged under the so-called Ahtisaari Plan, the blueprint detailing Kosovo's 'supervised independence,' devised by former United Nations envoy in the Kosovo dispute, Martti Ahtisaari.

According to the document, the joint commission should be formed within the first 120 days of Kosovo’s independence.

Its demarcation however is hampered by the fact that Macedonia has not yet recognised its northern neighbour, since it declared independence from Serbia on February 17.

In late February Kosovo’s deputy Prime Minister, Hajredin Kuki said his country will not be blackmailed over the border issue and argued that demarcation will commence after Skopje recognises Pristina. Read more at http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/8272/

Shortly after, Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski commenting on Pristina’s refusal to negotiate the demarcation said it is a “bad start for Kosovo's relations with Macedonia.”

Skopje signed a United Nations-verified agreement for border demarcation with Belgrade in 2001, since at the time Kosovo was legally part of Serbia.

However with Kosovo being administered by the UN, Pristina and Belgrade disputed who had the right to sign the agreement with Skopje and the border was effectively left unmarked.

Meanwhile Skopje’s Foreign Minister on a visit to the Netherlands on Tuesday said Macedonia’s recognition of its recently independent neighbour is not a simple matter.

“We are Kosovo’s neighbour and we wish to build good relations for decades to come but recognition should happen when all the preconditions for that are met,” Milososki said.

Macedonia claims it will closely monitor European Union and NATO positions, both organisations the country aspires to join, before making its own decision on recognition.

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