Serbian, Albanian Representatives Have A First Meeting In Kosovo

High-profile Albanian and Serb officials and other ethnic minorities met Thursday in the Kosovo capital of Pristina. The meeting was initiated by the OSCE and the American Institute of Ethnic Relations. Representing the Serb side was Nebojsa Covic in charge of the Coordination Centre on Kosovo in the government of Serbia, whereas the Albanian delegates included Ibrahim Rugova chairing the Kosovo Democratic Union, Democratic Party leader Hasim Taci, and Ramus Haradinaj chairing the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo. The many-hour event was held in the OSCE mission office in Pristina behind closed doors and yielded no tangible results. Head of the OSCE Daan Everts and Alen Kasof representing the Institute said after the meeting that there were no indications that the Kosovo Serbs would take part in the local parliamentary elections scheduled for November 17. Sources in Pristina reported that Serbs had forwarded a set of demands regarding their participation in the voting. In particular, they demand that the fate of the kidnapped and missing in the province be clarified, the problem of prisoners and refugees' return settled, the security of non-Albanian residents increased, and Serbs be trained in their national language. Everst remarked that the international community is working over these problems. Serbs and Albanians will meet once more before the elections, added Everst.

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