by B. RADOMIROVIC
The guests were also received by Dragan Kalaba, head of Kosovska Mitrovica county, and after that Covic and the guests met with representatives of the Association Bridge - Saint Dimitrije.
As Dr. Nebojsa Covic stated, the talks were "of high quality, although there were differences of opinion, especially as far as the Coordination Center and the Crisis Group are concerned". As Dr. Covic emphasized, "we shall not go back, as it is obvious that there are certain structures, opinions that we work for the Crisis Group". "We are seeking a sustainable solution for Kosovo and Metohija, and the only way to find a solution is through dialog."
Responding to questions from journalists, James Lyon said that he believed that it was necessary to find a solution for the divided Kosovska Mitrovica. He confirmed that this was his first visit to the northern part of the city. He said that he was "not sure what would be the acceptable solution at this moment".
However, he was adamant that "one day a solution would have to be found not only for the problem of northern Mitrovica, but also for the status of Kosovo, for which there are different proposals". According to Lyon the only long term and best solution is - independent Kosovo.
He explained that "that does not have to happen tomorrow", that that was only a proposal. But, according to Lyon, "the resolution of the final status of Kosovo cannot indefinitely be postponed, as it must become a ‘normal society'".
Lyon said the following about "bridge guardians":
"Based on their hitherto behavior and controversial actions carried out by the so-called bridge guardians in the northern part of Kosovoska Mitrovica, we concluded that they were a paramilitary organization. However, after today's meeting, I cannot confirm that".
Daniel Serwer, director of the Balkan Initiative of the Institute for Peace in Washington, emphasized that it is most important that ethnic minorities' right to return be secured, as well as that their safety be guaranteed. A lot of money is needed for that, Serwer said, and added that his organization so far hasn't published "any reports that would specify the final status of Kosovo, but that after intensive discussions with representatives of the international community we reached the conclusion that there are options that are definitively unacceptable". According to Serwer, the unacceptable options are - independent Kosovo, any regional redrawing of borders in the Balkans, or that Kosovo remains under control of the government in Belgrade.
This is "the biggest unsolved issue in the Balkans", Serwer emphasized. According to him many years will be needed before new talks that would lead to the solution that would satisfy majority interests.
Since their arrival in Kosovo and Metohija (June 1999) the foreigners have demonstrated a lot of sensitivity for the plight of vagrant dogs, believing that their numbers would naturally fall with the first winter frost. It was believed at the time that these dogs had belonged to Serbs who were fleeing Kosovo towards more welcoming regions to the north. However, on the contrary, the number of vagrant dogs kept increasing.
In order to make their dog life easier, UNMiK, in cooperation with KSPA (association for protection of animals), organized a donor conference. In an invitation to donors and your truly, who is supposed to report from the donors' conference, benefactor Monica Sinberg, UNMiK contact person for this project, emphasizes that "UNMiK is proud to sponsor an event that will rehabilitate dogs".
A ticket for the party that took place at the terrace of the former Yugoslav Army Hall in Pristina, which currently houses the UN administration, costs 25 Euros. The party started last night at 7pm and continued until dawn. It still hasn't been announced how much money was collected for the dogs left behind by their owners. However, Serbs from Kosovo are convinced that the sum is definitively much larger than the amount that the international community plans to invest in the return of the expelled non-Albanians.
While Serbs believe that the UN administration wanted to yet again to draw attention to nonexistent problems, instead of focusing on the real ones, ethnic Albanians condemned the fund raiser as a humiliation for the suffering humans in the province.