Despite challenges, UN mission in Kosovo on track towards long-term goals: Annan

12 June 2001

The United Nations mission in Kosovo is pursuing its goals of holding Kosovo-wide elections, implementing a constitutional framework and setting the stage for self-government and economic viability, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report to the Security Council released today at UN Headquarters.

In his quarterly report on the activities of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Mr. Annan says the Constitutional Framework -- which lays the groundwork for provisional self-government and for Kosovo-wide elections -- "represents a balanced elaboration of the concept of 'substantial autonomy'" envisaged by the Security Council, and benefits all communities.

It is now important to move ahead with preparations for the 17 November elections, Mr. Annan says, including by strengthening the public administration to prepare all Kosovars for the task of self-government. "The majority of Kosovars yearn for stability through self-government," Mr. Annan says. "In turn, a more stable Kosovo will contribute to regional stability."

Engaging all communities in the institutions of self-government is the only way to ensure the success of the process, Mr. Annan says. A major challenge is securing the participation of the Kosovo Serb community, which should realize that it cannot hold itself outside of the process and that "the benefits of cooperation are preferable to marginalization." Kosovo Serb participation "will decide whether this community can be fully integrated into Kosovo society" -- a factor that would pave the way for an improved security situation, a precondition for large-scale return.

Stressing the need for "reciprocal steps" to create confidence between the majority and minority communities, Mr. Annan sees as "encouraging" the "apparent realization on the part of the Kosovo Albanian leadership that they must assume responsibility for a tolerant and all-inclusive society."

The tense security situation remains "the single most important threat" to reaching international goals Mr. Annan says, welcoming UNMIK's "robust" policies, including its efforts to tackle organized crime and terrorism.

Noting "a steady improvement in UNMIK relations with the Yugoslav authorities," Mr. Annan underscores the importance of engaging Belgrade in the process of implementing Security Council resolution 1244 of 1999. "A substantive gesture of utmost importance would be the encouragement of Kosovo Serb registration and full participation in the interim structures as a clear sign to the Kosovo Serbs that their future is in Kosovo," he writes.


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