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Kosovo: UN mission chief holds 'constructive' talks with top Serb official

Kosovo: UN mission chief holds 'constructive' talks with top Serb official

Hans Haekkerup, the head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), today held "long and constructive" talks with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic, the UN Mission said in Pristina.

During the meeting, the two men saw representatives of the families of the missing from Gracanica and discussed ways to establish the truth about the whereabouts of all those who were still missing.

On the question of detainees, Mr. Haekkerup raised the question of the Kosovo Albanians still detained in Serbia, while Mr. Covic expressed concern about the Serbs held in detention in Kosovo. Mr. Haekkerup agreed that if there were genuine grounds to review any of these cases, this would be done in accordance with normal judicial process.

According to UNMIK, Mr. Haekkerup and Mr. Covic agreed on the need to encourage a higher participation in registering for the November 17 elections by Kosovo Serbs and internally displaced people in Serbia.

Meanwhile, the KFOR international security force continued to patrol the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and interdict the movement of people and weapons, according to the force's spokesman.

KFOR spokesman Roy Brown told a press briefing that the force was maintaining a "strong presence" along the border - a policy that had resulted in the detention since last Friday of 149 suspected members of the ethnic-Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) who had illegally crossed into Kosovo.

"We have no intention of allowing these people to utilize Kosovo as a safe haven or as a hiding place for their weapons," he said.