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Security Council members call on Kosovo Albanian leaders to support security efforts

Security Council members call on Kosovo Albanian leaders to support security efforts

After a briefing by the top United Nations official in Kosovo on preparations for the 17 November elections in the province, the Security Council today called on Kosovo Albanian leaders to actively support efforts to promote security and to combat extremism, including terrorist activities.

In a presidential statement delivered by the Council President, Ambassador Richard Ryan of Ireland, the 15-member body also called on all Kosovo leaders "to publicly condemn violence and ethnic intolerance" and assume their responsibility for ensuring that the campaign and the elections were "peaceful, democratic and inclusive."

The Council commended the Yugoslav authorities, particularly president Vojislav Kostunica, for their encouragement of the Kosovo Serbs to register, and called on Belgrade to promote the fullest possible participation in the vote.

In his briefing, Hans Haekkerup, the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), told Council members that more than 1.2 million people would be eligible to vote at the elections leading to the creation of a Kosovo Assembly. Some 83 per cent of them were Kosovo Albanian, 12 per cent Kosovo Serbs, and the remainder Kosovo Bosniac, Gorani, Turk, Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian. "All of Kosovo's communities are now in a position to participate in the 2001 Assembly Election," Mr. Haekkerup said.

He informed the Council that 26 political entities had been certified to stand in the elections, including a Kosovo Serb citizens' initiative, presenting "a genuine and critical opportunity" for Kosovo Serbs to participate in the shaping of Kosovo's future. Women should comprise more than 20 per cent of the Assembly, due to requirements that a percentage of candidates were women.

Election Day would be under "100 per cent international supervision," Mr. Haekkerup said, with observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe. In addition, more than 6,000 voters were expected to be certified as domestic observers, including representatives from a well-regarded Yugoslav non-governmental organisation.

After the certification of the elections, the Assembly would hold its inaugural session and elect the Assembly's Presidency and the President of Kosovo. The President would then appoint the Prime Minister, who would present a proposed list of ministers to the Assembly for ratification. Ten ministries would constitute the executive branch of the provisional self-government, with one minister from the Kosovo Serb community and another from other non-Albanian communities.

UNMIK was on the verge of moving into "a determining phase of interim administration," Mr. Haekkerup said, with its role moving from one of direct administrative responsibility to one of oversight of self-government. The mission would transfer many of its responsibilities to the provisional self-government institution, but would continue to monitor and support these institutions in their work, and its mandate would remain the same during all stages of the transition.