- Title: SERBIA: Kosovo troika does not rule out partition
- Date: 13th August 2007
- Summary: END OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE EU ENVOY WOLFGANG ISCHINGER LEAVING
- Embargoed: 28th August 2007 13:00
- Location: Serbia
- Country: Serbia
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA5E73YDC72LLYVDELVJ3QYBBBC
- Story Text: Kosovo partition possible if Serbs and Albanians agree to it, diplomatic troika says.
The troika of major powers leading new talks on Kosovo said on Sunday (August 12) partition of the breakaway territory, once taboo, could be an option if Serbs and Albanians agreed to it.
Western policy on Kosovo has previously ruled out partition as a potential spark for regional conflict.
"We have clearly said to both sides, and we have said it publicly and I'm happy to repeat it here, that it is the principle of the troika to be prepared to endorse any agreement which both parties manage to achieve,"
the European Union's envoy on the troika, Wolfgang Ischinger, told a news conference.
Ischinger added that included splitting the territory if the two parties agreed to it.
Envoys from the troika were on their first visit to Kosovo since Moscow blocked a U.N. plan to give Kosovo independence at the U.N. Security Council.
Other members of the troika are the United States and Russia.
Western diplomats have argued that splitting Kosovo in two could revive insurgencies among ethnic Albanians in Serbia's southern Presevo Valley and neighbouring Macedonia. Any partition would be likely to leave the Serb-dominated north as part of Serbia.
The territory has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO carried out a bombing campaign to drive out Serb forces and halt the killing and expulsion of Albanians during a two-year separatist war.
Kosovo's 90-percent Albanian majority demands independence.
"It's obvious that EU will have a more significant role now than in the past, especially after the statements made by Mr. Ischinger. It looks that the talks will continue and there will be more attention on stands of the individuals. There will be pressure on both sides to find a compromised solution," said Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic after meeting the envoys.
If no agreement is made it's going to be more difficult for the parties involved to join the EU, said Ischinger.
"In absence of such agreement the European door will not be as open as I'm sure everyone here in the region would hope it to be,"
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