Thu, 3 Apr 1997 22:26:41 -0500 (EST)

Press Release:
Serb-Albanian Roundtable in New York City

Project on Ethnic Relations
One Palmer Square, Suite 435
Princeton, New Jersey USA
Tel: 609-683-5666
Fax: 609-683-5888

April 3, 1997

The Project on Ethnic Relations (PER) reported today on plans for the
upcoming Serb-Albanian dialogue on Kosovo in New York City. The roundtable
will open on Monday morning at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which is
the meeting site, and will conclude with a press conference there on
Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. after two-and-one half days of informal discussions.

Dr. Allen H. Kassof, PER president, noted that the participants represent a
broad spectrum of political opinion in Serbia, including the New Democracy
Party (a partner in the ruling coalition), the major opposition parties, and
three Albanian political parties from Kosovo.

The roundtable, Dr. Kassof stressed, is neither an international mediation
nor intervention, but is intended to provide the participants with a neutral
and friendly framework to explore whether common ground can be found among
their positions and, if so, to encourage the continuation of a serious
dialogue in Yugoslavia. Senior U.S. officials are attending the meeting as
observers to signal their support for constructive approaches to a resolution
of the dispute about Kosovo.

Commenting on a press report that the Socialist Party of Serbia would not
send participants, Dr. Kassof said that several SPS officials had privately
conveyed to PER their fears that such a move would deepen the international
isolation of the SPS and Serbia and work to the advantage of opposition
parties. Dr. Kassof noted evidence of an intensive and still unresolved
dispute on this issues within SPS, which had already given assurances last
December that it would take part in the roundtable. On March 24, PER
received from SPS a fax, dated March 21, announcing that SPS would not
participate. However, that message was followed within hours by a telephone
call from SPS saying that the fax had been sent in error and should be
ignored, and assuring that the names of participants would be announced later
that week.

PER still has not received direct word from SPS about its final decision, and
said that SPS is welcome at this and future roundtables. All of the other
participants from Belgrade and Pristina have confirmed their attendance, and
the first group arrived in the United States on Thursday.

The meeting has aroused widespread interest among American and European
policy-makers, said PER, and is being closely followed for the possibility
that the opening of a dialogue on the Kosovo issue could provide grounds for
improvements in relations with Serbia.

The list of the roundtable participants and observers is attached.

Serb-Albanian Kosovo Roundtable
New York City
April 7-9, 1997


>From Belgrade:
Vuk Draskovic, President, Serbian Renewal Movement
Dusan Janjic, Director, Institute of Social Sciences; Coordinator, Forum for
Ethnic Relations
Miroljub Labus, Vice-President, Democratic Party
Dragoljub Micunovic, President, Party of Democratic Center
Dusan Mihajlovic, President, New Democracy Party
Vesna Pesic, President, Civic Alliance of Serbia

>From Prishtina:
Fehmi Agani, Vice-President, Democratic League of Kosova
Mahmut Bakalli, former Chairman, Kosovo Provincial Committee of the Union of
Communists of Yugoslavia
Adem Demaci, President, Parliamentary Party of Kosova
Hidajet Hyseni, Vice-President, Democratic League of Kosova
Abdullah Karjagdiu, Vice-President, Parliamentary Party of Kosova
Mark Krasniqi, Chairman, Christian Democratic Party of Kosova
Veton Surroi, Editor-in-Chief, Koha


Steven Burg, Professor, Brandeis University
Aleksey Grigor’ev, Program Associate, Project on Ethnic Relations
David Hamburg, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York
Robert Hayden, Professor, University of Pittsburgh
Allen Kassof, President, Project on Ethnic Relations
Matt Palmer, Country Director for Serbia/Montenegro, US State Department
Rudolf Perina, Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European
David Phillips, Director, European Center for Common Ground
Livia Plaks, Executive Director, Project on Ethnic Relations
Barnett Rubin, Director, Center for Preventive Action, Council on Foreign
John Scanlan, former US Ambassador to Yugoslavia; Member, PER Council for
Ethnic Accord
David Speedie, Program Chair, Program on Preventing Deadly Conflict,
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Cyrus Vance, former Secretary of State; Member, PER Council on Ethnic Accord
Alexander Vershbow, Special Assistant to the President, Director for
European Affairs, National Security Council, the White House


Jeanette Mansour, Program Officer, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation