Security Council urged to reject calls to end UN interim administration in Kosovo
"The Mission has balanced the competing, and often conflicting, desires of the leaders and people in Kosovo without giving fodder to extremism," Assistant Secretary-General Hedi Annabi said during his briefing to the Council on Secretary-General Kofi Annan's latest report which highlights the continuing transfer of responsibilities to Kosovo's Provisional Institutions of Self-Government.
During the Council's open meeting on Kosovo, which also heard from the representatives of nearly 20 countries, Mr. Annabi said perceived weaknesses in the UN's work in other post-conflict situations have been exploited to unjustifiably discredit the work of UNMIK and its efforts to establish and oversee the development of provisional self-governing institutions.
"The report shows that Kosovo has some way to go in establishing representative and functioning institutions, particularly since the Provisional Institutions have been hampered by political inter- and intra-party struggles," Mr. Annabi told the Council, making the case for continued UNMIK presence.
He stated that while the Kosovo Assembly continued to hold regular sessions, it remained unable to bridge political and ethnic differences, leading to several walkouts by Albanian and Serb parties. Separate and mono-ethnic administrative institutions have also been formed, complicating efforts to establish an inclusive Kosovo.
Ethnic violence and crime seemed to be on the increase again after a decline in December last year, Mr. Annabi added. "Important minority issues such as freedom of movement, use of language and alphabet, and receipt of fair share financing from the municipalities remained problematic with little tangible progress," he said.
He asked for the Council's continued support, saying there has been steadily increasing pressure on UNMIK from all sides, particularly seeking to violate UN resolutions and to challenge the authority of the head of UNMIK, Michael Steiner.
On the bright side, Mr. Annabi said there have been an increased number of minorities in the civil service, including the judiciary, and the continued development of the Kosovo Police Service. Another positive development has been the transfer of administrative and operational responsibilities of the Tax Administration to the provisional institutions.