Danish civil servant appointed new UN envoy for Kosovo

16 June 2004
UNMIK chief Søren Jessen-Petersen

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has informed the Security Council that he intends to appoint Søren Jessen-Petersen of Denmark as his new Special Representative for Kosovo and the head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK), a UN spokesman said today.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has informed the Security Council that he intends to appoint Søren Jessen-Petersen of Denmark as his new Special Representative for Kosovo and the head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK), a UN spokesman said today.

In both posts, Mr. Jessen-Petersen would replace Harri Holkeri, who resigned last month for health reasons.

“The Secretary-General would like to take this opportunity to express his deep appreciation for the dedicated service and leadership provided by Harri Holkeri in often very difficult circumstances,” spokesman Stephan Dujarric said.

The Council is expected to respond to Mr. Annan’s move in the next few days, Mr. Dujarric added.

In mid-March, 19 people were killed, hundreds injured, and numerous homes and Serbian cultural and religious sites destroyed or damaged during two days of rioting and violence between ethnic Albanians and ethnic Serbs.

In a farewell press conference last week, Mr. Holkeri described those events as “a big setback,” and urged the people of Kosovo to reject extremism and ethnic division.

UNMIK took over administration of the province in June 1999, after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) drove Yugoslav troops out amid fighting between the Albanian and Serbian communities. Kosovo’s permanent future status remains yet to be determined.

Since February Mr. Jessen-Petersen has served as the European Union’s Special Representative in Skopje, the capital of the neighbouring former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Previously he worked in various senior roles with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Secretariat.

Mr. Jessen-Petersen, who is married with four children, is a lawyer and journalist by training.

 

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