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Kosovo: refuting press reports, UN envoy says work on legal framework goes on

Kosovo: refuting press reports, UN envoy says work on legal framework goes on

Mr. Haekkerup addressing journalists
The top United Nations official in Kosovo today denied reports published in the Belgrade media that a legal framework for interim self-government had been completed without including the concerns of the Kosovo Serbs.

Hans Haekkerup, head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), told journalists today that the comments in the Belgrade press did not "reflect the reality." On the contrary, he had been meeting continuously with Kosovo political representatives and members of the international community on the Legal Framework, which outlines structures of provisional self-government.

"By the end of the week, we will take stock of where we are and then finish the work," Mr. Haekkerup said, stressing his intention to include some of the Serb-proposed recommendations in the final document.

Mr. Haekkerup stressed that guarantees in the document ensure the protection of minority interests. "We have been building a lot of guarantees for minorities and groups, so that it will be difficult for a majority to overrule a minority in a non-acceptable way," he said.

The document provides for an elected assembly to make decisions and pass laws in fields as varied as social welfare, health, education, the environment, agriculture, industry and trade.

Mr. Haekkerup stressed that the Legal Framework would be an important step towards self-government, but would not deal with the final settlement, on which the document was "neutral." The Framework should, however, facilitate a final political settlement, he said.