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Security Council mission presents findings of its visit to Kosovo

Security Council mission presents findings of its visit to Kosovo

The current political process in Kosovo is crucial to combating extremism and encouraging moderates on all sides, according to the report of the Security Council mission to the province released today at United Nations Headquarters.

The Security Council mission -- the first to include all 15 members and be headed by the Council President -- visited Kosovo and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 16 to 18 June to observe the operations of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the situation on the ground.

"The Mission sent a strong message to all communities to reject all violence, extremism and terrorism and to work with UNMIK in implementing Security Council resolution 1244," the Council President, Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury of Bangladesh, said today as he presented the report at an open meeting of the Council.

According to the report, creating a multi-ethnic Kosovo remains one of the main challenges. The report stresses the responsibility of Kosovo leaders for creating conditions conducive to reconciliation and improved intercommunal relations. In particular, the Kosovo Albanian leaders should be "more forthcoming with regard to improving the treatment of the minority communities."

In turn, minority communities must realize that there is no alternative to establishing a multiethnic society and that the only viable future for all communities lies in participation, the Council mission stresses. "The Kosovo Serb community, in particular, must integrate into the structures being set up by UNMIK, rather than attempt to set up parallel structures."

The Mission recommends that "more intensified efforts should be put into the issue of the missing of all communities and detainees, which continues to be a major impediment to reconciliation and was an issue raised by almost every Kosovo representative the Mission met," the report says.

Participation by all communities in the 17 November elections, the return of refugees and displaced persons and their participation in elections should be encouraged, the report observes. For its part, UNMIK should continue its dialogue with Yugoslavia's authorities, "whose influence in Kosovo is key on the implementation of resolution 1244."