Kosovo’s outgoing foreign minister, Behgjet Pacolli, has warned the Council of Europe it will refuse to cooperate with Russian senator Aleksei Kondratev if he is appointed as the rights body’s Parliamentary Assembly rapporteur for talks between Belgrade and Pristina.
Reports in Kosovo say Kondratev is in line for the job, drawing swift condemnation from Pacolli via Twitter.
“I have expressed my deep concern to the Council of Europe and Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe about the candidature of Alexei Kondratev as Rapporteur for Kosovo,” he wrote.
“He is a national security threat to Kosovo and we won’t accept his potential appointment neither cooperate with him. The Council of Europe should think twice before taking such a step.”
Kondratev is a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. Russia has been Serbia’s strongest big-power ally in opposing Kosovo’s independence and blocking its route to membership of the United Nations and other international bodies, including Interpol and the Council of Europe.
The parliamentary assembly, where Kosovo has observer status, is expected to chose a new rapporteur on Thursday; media reports say Germany’s Peter Beyer, a Bundestag MP of the ruling Christian Democratic Union, CDU, is also in the running.
The head of Kosovo’s mission to the Council of Europe, Mimoza Ahmetaj, also expressed concern about Kondratev’s potential appointment.
“Truly believe that this is not what Council of Europe member states and MPs think is the best what Kosovo needs in order to advance human right and democratic values,” Ahmetaj tweeted.
“A man who was forced to leave Kosovo years back because of being involved in crime intends to go back,” she said, apparently referring to unconfirmed media reports that Kondratev was involved in an incident in a bar in Kosovo in 2001.