Transfer of UN authority progresses in Kosovo, but multi-ethnic institutions needed

Transfer of UN authority progresses in Kosovo, but multi-ethnic institutions needed

Although an important step in the process towards transferring further responsibilities from the United Nations to local authorities had been launched last three months ago, Kosovo still has some way to go in establishing representative and functioning institutes, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report issued today.

Although an important step in the process towards transferring further responsibilities from the United Nations to local authorities had been launched last three months ago, Kosovo still has some way to go in establishing representative and functioning institutes, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report issued today.

In his report to the Security Council on the activities of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) since the beginning of the year, Mr. Annan says the tendency of local Kosovo Albanian leaders and the Provisional Institutions to focus on symbols and image, and to publicly promote positions contrary to UN resolutions, is a cause for concern.

He calls for all local leaders to work together to consolidate these institutions by focusing on substance and practical results instead of holding institutional developments hostage to political or ethnic differences.

"Forming separate, mono-ethnic administrative institutions will not lead to the multi-ethnic Kosovo towards which we all strive," Mr. Annan says, calling local leaders to work towards this end. "Working within the established structures requires willingness on the part of minority communities and receptivity on the part of majority community."

Despite these challenges, he states that "the transfer must proceed, so that the Provisional Institutions become accountable to the people of Kosovo for the delivery of those services and administration for which they are responsible."

UNMIK is also working hard to ensure the environment is conducive to minority people returning to Kosovo, Mr. Annan notes, adding that progress has been made on the ground by preparing projects and sensitizing communities to ensure that returns take place in as safe, secure and sustainable an environment as possible.

"However, acts of intimidation, threats and violence directed against minorities still occur and are intended to discourage minority participation in public life," he says, and calls on the leaders and people of Kosovo to put an end to such acts, and work actively on inter-ethnic dialogue and reconciliation.

The Security Council has scheduled an open meeting on Kosovo next Wednesday.