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Stalemate persists in installation of Kosovo government, UN Security Council told

Stalemate persists in installation of Kosovo government, UN Security Council told

While the deadlock in forming a coalition government and electing a president of Kosovo persisted, the United Nations Interim Administration (UNMIK) and interested countries continued to encourage a quick solution to the current stalemate, the UN's top peacekeeping official said today.

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Security Council this morning on developments in Kosovo since the 17 November province-wide elections, which had failed to give one party the necessary majority in the Assembly to form a government without entering into a coalition.

UNMIK continued to work to create an environment in which Kosovo's minorities would feel secure to participate in public life, Mr. Guéhenno said, adding that overall the last three months had been calm.

He underscored that a more robust and active approach by UNMIK and the international force for Kosovo (KFOR) towards the so-called "bridgewatchers" had also helped to decrease the level of violence in Mitrovica North, and appeared to have undermined some of the support for that element.

On the negative side, Mr. Guéhenno pointed to last week's murder in the Pec region of Ismael Hardaraj, a Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) member of the Assembly. UNMIK had launched a thorough investigation, but at this point the motivation for the killing was unclear.

The current Council President, Ambassador Jagdish Koonjul of Mauritius, informed Council members this morning that Secretary-General Kofi Annan intended to appoint Michael Steiner of Germany as his new Special Representative for Kosovo and chief of UNMIK.

Many Council members warmly commended Mr. Steiner's predecessor, Hans Haekkerup of Denmark, for his stewardship in Kosovo, his work with UNMIK and his efforts to organize the recently held elections.

Following Mr. Guéhenno's briefing, representatives from 18 countries took the floor during an extensive discussion of the situation in Kosovo.