Kosovo: UN assumes administrative control over Mitrovica

26 November 2002

The top United Nations envoy in Kosovo today visited Mitrovica, the northern city which yesterday he placed under a single municipal administration, establishing UN offices in the previous parallel structures.

Michael Steiner, the chief of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), toured the building with the new head of the office and deputy Municipal Administrator, Ramesh Abhishek, to assess the necessary refurbishment measures to be taken there.

"Those who have worked here before can, of course, apply again for the positions that we are opening," he told the people gathered outside the office. "We have 70 positions to fill, anyone who fulfils the criteria can apply."

The order signed by Mr. Steiner yesterday evening in Kosovo is part of the effort, announced recently by the UN envoy, to restore normalcy to the city, which has been divided in recent years into a Serb-majority north and an Albanian-majority south.

Speaking to the press last night, Mr. Steiner said that Mitrovica had left an administrative “grey zone” and that the new UNMIK Administration-Mitrovica would be the sole structure providing all local government services in the northern part of town.

During his tour of Mitrovica today, Mr. Steiner walked to the north end of the bridge that joins the town and assured people gathered there that there would be no incursion from the south. “My guarantee stays – this will not happen,” he said.

Mr. Steiner was also met by a crowd on the south side. "I think we have made an important step forward, but everybody now must be disciplined and patient," he told those assembled. "We have to display the friendly face of Mitrovica."

 

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