Macedonia yesterday reiterated its request for the border with Kosovo to be demarcated before the talks on the final status of the province commence, since UNMIK declared itself incompetent in connection with the demarcation the day before yesterday [May 12]. President Branko Crvenkovski insists on Macedonia's position of so far, "border first, status later", while Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski believes that the future status of Kosovo cannot be defined until the border has been demarcated.
The civilian administration in Kosovo took the position the day before yesterday that no partner from the Kosovo side could be found for the demarcation of the border with Macedonia before the status of the province had been determined.
"We again assessed that the issue is a technical one. The UNMIK position is not the clearest one from the formal-legal aspect. The issue is being worked on, but not too loudly," Defense Minister Jovan Manasijevski said after a meeting with Kosovo administrator [UNMIK chief] Soeren Jessen-Petersen.
Buckovski says that it is unimportant who the border is to be demarcated with.
"To us it is irrelevant who is going to be a partner in the border demarcation. That is a technical, not a political issue, and there are no disputes regarding the border with Kosovo. However, it seems somebody consciously wants to make a problem out of an easily solvable matter and wants to produce an absurd situation. Without a defined border, the final status of Kosovo cannot be defined, either. That is one of the criteria, while the idea was also accepted for the province to declare clearly that it has no ambitions for the annexation of other territories," Buckovski said.
President Crvenkovski also insists on demarcation of the border before the negotiations on the final status, which are to commence this fall.
"A decision about the Kosovo status while the issue of the demarcation of the border with Macedonia remains open might encourage the radical structures and become a new cause of instability, not only for Macedonia, but for the region as well. Consequently, this issue should be closed as soon as possible. That is important for the Republic of Macedonia, and we should insist on that position," president's cabinet announced yesterday.