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Kosovo: top UN official sees progress in work on self-government framework

Kosovo: top UN official sees progress in work on self-government framework

The head of the United Nations mission in Kosovo said today that a "good compromise" between the province's Serb and Albanian communities on a key legal document was drawing near.

Speaking at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York, Hans Haekkerup, who heads the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), said that while it had not yet been possible to reach consensus on the Legal Framework for provisional self-government institutions in the province, there was agreement on "98 per cent" of the document.

Efforts had been made to accommodate the concerns of the Kosovo Serbs, Mr. Haekkerup said, with amendments guaranteeing the rights of communities and mechanisms to solve problems when a community's vital interests were at stake. While the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has still not fully agreed, there will be "understanding and acceptance" of the document when it is put forward, Mr. Haekkerup noted.

Since a few questions were also outstanding with Kosovo Albanians, it was UNMIK's task "to strike a balance" while taking into account as far as possible the views of the different communities, Mr. Haekkerup said.

Mr. Haekkerup, who spoke to the press after briefing the Security Council in closed consultations, said that there was broad support in the Council for moving ahead. Following Council approval, the final text of the Legal Framework will be promulgated and elections will be held this year. The upcoming visit of members of the Council to Kosovo could further the creation of self-government institutions, he said.

During its consultations today, the Council also discussed the general security situation both in Kosovo and in the region, events in southern Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the need to give UNMIK the necessary capability to fight terrorism and organized crime, Mr. Haekkerup said.