All communities in Kosovo must enjoy benefits of progress, UN envoy tells donors

All communities in Kosovo must enjoy benefits of progress, UN envoy tells donors

Michael Steiner
Making the right to return to Kosovo a reality is the greatest unmet challenge the international community faces there, the top United Nations envoy in the province told a meeting of donors in Brussels today.

"Members of Kosovo's smaller communities have not yet returned to their homes, and most of those who stayed in Kosovo live in conditions that remain unacceptable," said Michael Steiner, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative. "We must extend the benefits of progress to all of Kosovo's communities."

At the same time, Mr. Steiner noted recent accomplishments in Kosovo, including the rebuilding of more than 40,000 houses, the refurbishing of more than 450 schools, and massive improvements in the water and electrical supply systems.

Building on that success means forging a new partnership between the donor community and the Government of Kosovo, Mr. Steiner said, pledging his commitment to making the transfer of responsibilities to the province's own institutions a success.

"To make further political progress in Kosovo, the Government needs, now perhaps more than ever, your help," he told the meeting's participants. "Your help to deliver jobs. Your help to deliver a decent education for its young people. Your help to create sustainable opportunities for people who wish to return to Kosovo."

Above all, Mr. Steiner stressed, the Government of Kosovo needs the international community's assistance to be able to reach benchmarks which constitute "the preconditions for continuing down the road that will allow us to resolve Kosovo's status."

Whatever Kosovo's political status will be in the future, he added, it must be a "multi-ethnic, integrated Kosovo where all its people can live in security and dignity."