Annan stresses full participation by all groups in Kosovo's upcoming elections
All of Kosovo’s communities must participate in municipal elections later this month in order to mark another milestone in the development of democratic institutions in the province, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report released today.
Meaningful participation “is an important component not only to ensure successful governance, but also to ensure that participation brings tangible benefits to all communities, which has not yet been demonstrated,” the Secretary-General says in his latest report to the Security Council on the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). “Clearly, this is a responsibility not only of minority representatives but even more so of the representatives from majority parties.”
The Secretary-General stresses that the dismantling of parallel structures is another key factor in achieving full participation and calls on those concerned to support the work of the local institutions in Kosovo and to work within them and with UNMIK for the benefit of all residents.
“In this regard, I support the strategy most recently outlined by my Special Representative [Michael Steiner] for Mitrovica, which is based on election participation, co-governance and decentralization,” he says.
The Secretary-General also calls for concrete action following on statements of support by local officials for the policy of tolerance, reconciliation and integration. “This is particularly important in order to create conditions conducive to the sustainable return of all individuals who wish to return to their homes in Kosovo,” he says. “Resolving the fate of the missing is an important factor in reconciliation and the necessary exhumations should be completed as soon as possible.”
As for security in the province, the Secretary-General reports that the situation has remained calm in recent months, despite isolated incidents of unrest, and details recent efforts to enforce the rule of law in Kosovo.
“No one is above the law and respect for the rule of law is imperative,” Mr. Annan says, noting that positive steps have been taken in this area, particularly in the development of the Kosovo Police Service and in combating organized crime.