A Security Council delegation has found “notable progress” in Kosovo but much work remains to be done in several areas, including the rule of law and the return of minority communities, according to a report released today at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The report of the Council delegation that visited Kosovo and Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 14 to 17 December notes that the elections for the Kosovo Assembly in 2001 and the municipal ballot earlier this year led to the formation of the provisional institutions of self-government. Among the other achievements recognized by the team are the improvement in the rule of law, the high number of minority returnees, and progress in preparation for the privatization of the local economy.
Nevertheless, the report points out that the progress achieved so far in Kosovo has been driven to a large extent by the international community. The delegation “has the firm impression that local ownership and commitment to these processes has been less than could have been expected,” it says, stressing the importance of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in making further efforts to involve the local institutions and political leaders in the practical formulation and implementation of political goals and strategies.
The Council team also underlines the importance of viewing developments in Kosovo in a regional perspective. “Events in [the province] have an impact on the surrounding region and vice versa,” the report says. “This is linked not only to political issues but also to security, law and order and economic development.”
In an open briefing this afternoon to the 15-nation body, the head of the Council delegation, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, said that the formulation of benchmarks by UNMIK for the realization of standards is a constructive approach to the further development of Kosovo towards a democratic, multi-ethnic society.
“The [Council] Mission hopes that the benchmarks can be worked out with local authorities in Kosovo in order to build local ‘ownership’ of them,” he said. “The Mission holds the view that ‘standards before status’ is the only viable way forward.”