U.S. envoy denies north comments

The ambassador of the United States to Priština has denied that he said Hashim Thaci was "prepared to offer to the north of Kosovo a kind of autonomy".

Source: Tanjug

According to the Albanian language media reports in Priština earlier today, Christopher Dell said this could be modeled after autonomies implemented in regions of Belgium, Austria and other Western European countries.

But now Dell's statement says that he did not call for the north of Kosovo to be given autonomy, and that Thaci never made such a proposal, "either publicly or privately".

The statement also said that the U.S. government strongly supports Kosovo's status "as an independent state", and also its "territorial integrity".

The north of the province is predominantly inhabited by Serbs, who recognize neither the Kosovo Albanian UDI made in early 2008, nor the authority of the Kosovo Albanian government, led by Thaci.

In the reports found in the Priština-based press, Dell was quoted as saying that "the north of Kosovo is of a specific nature, and Premier Hashim Thaci is prepared to find a creative way to resolve the issue".

He reportedly made these comments while speaking to journalists in Washington, regarding the advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Kosovo case.

“What I have heard him say publicly in Kosovo on many occasions - publicly at least once and many occasions in private - is that within the context of a European Union that consists of many regions and is recognized as such, he is prepared to look creatively at ways in which the special nature of the north of Kosovo can be accommodated within the boundaries of the united state of Kosovo," the U.S. envoy was quoted.

"But given - recognizing that in the Europe of the 21st century there is room for special status - not status, that's the wrong word - special nature of regions within single countries. To be less cryptic, we're referring here to regional arrangements such as exist in Belgium, South Tyrol, many parts of Europe,” Dell was reported as saying.

The ICJ last week said that international law does not have an active provision that limits independence declarations, and that the Kosovo Albanian UDI was therefore not in breach of international law. The top UN court did not discuss the right to self-determination or secession.