Wrapping up trip to Kosovo, Security Council team hails ‘substantial progress’

Wrapping up trip to Kosovo, Security Council team hails ‘substantial progress’

Amb. Kolby (middle) with SRSG Steiner on visit to Kosovo
A Security Council delegation headed to Belgrade today after a weekend of meetings in Kosovo, with the head of the mission saying the group was impressed by the advances made in the province.

Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway told the press in Pristina that the Council found the trip to be a “very, very useful visit” and that “compared to what we saw here 18 months ago, there has been substantial progress.”

The establishment of institutions was a major step forward and the security situation has improved significantly, Ambassador Kolby noted, adding that the Council team was very impressed by the work of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the NATO-led international force (KFOR), as well as the dedication shown by local political leaders.

“It is very important that this work continue,” he stressed. “The first steps have been taken but more remains to be done. This is vital if Kosovo is to become a multiethnic and democratic society.”

Over the weekend, the Council mission met with Kosovo leaders, both from the majority and minority communities, as well as with members of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government and the Kosovo Assembly.

On Sunday, the delegation met the KFOR commander, Lt. Gen. Fabio Mini, and then visited UNMIK’s new office in the northern town of Mitrovica, where it was briefed on the problems of introducing a market economy in Kosovo.

While in Mitrovica, the Council mission also met with representatives of civil society from the Serb community. “We conveyed to them the Council’s point of view, [that it] wants Kosovo to be a multi-ethnic society,” Ambassador Kolby said afterwards. “There should be in Kosovo room for everybody here and it is also important that everybody tries to integrate.”