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Referendum lacks international support, says top UN official in Kosovo

Referendum lacks international support, says top UN official in Kosovo

The head of the United Nations mission in Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, today told the Kosovo Transitional Council (KTC) that the idea of referendum did not have the support of the international community and went beyond the provisional period of self-government.

Briefing the Council about the Joint Working Group -- the committee finalizing the legal framework for Kosovo's provisional self-government -- Mr. Haekkerup said the referendum issue had come up at the meeting of the Contact Group last week in Paris, but the participants opposed it. It was also discussed during his visit to Tirana, and the Albanian Government did not support it.

The head of the UN Interim Administration mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) said, "we need an inclusive process that takes into account the legitimate interests of all communities." He noted that Security Council resolution 1244 did not mention a referendum, adding that while the Rambouillet accord spoke of the will of the people, it did not say how this is to be expressed.

Mr. Haekkerup clarified that the Legal Framework was a document on provisional institution of self-government, which should not prejudice Kosovo's final status. "The issue of final status has to be negotiated by the future elected leaders of Kosovo with the international community," he said.

Briefing the KTC about his visit to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Mr. Haekkerup said that even tough Belgrade "didn't say it in so many words," all discussions pointed to the fact that it favoured elections in Kosovo.