Kosovo: UN mission criticizes assembly move to change constitution

Kosovo: UN mission criticizes assembly move to change constitution

The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) today criticized the province's parliamentary assembly for debating proposals to amend the constitution, saying any such changes are beyond its powers.

In a statement issued in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, UNMIK said the assembly does not have a mandate to comprehensively review the province's constitution. It can only propose to amend specific elements that do not fall within the reserved powers of the Mission.

"UNMIK is open to discuss such proposals, provided they are submitted in accordance with the provisions of the Constitutional Framework," the statement read.

Charles Brayshaw, the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo, urged the Assembly's members to follow the guidelines set out in the Standards for Kosovo implementation plan.

That plan calls for Kosovo to make improvements in many areas - including the holding of free and fair elections, promoting multi-ethnicity and encouraging dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade - before the province's permanent future status can be determined.

Calling on the assembly to focus on the correct priorities, UNMIK said "a different approach puts us on a wrong course that diverts time and energy" from meeting that plan.

Kosovo has been under UN administration since June 1999 after members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) drove Yugoslav troops out amid fighting between the Albanian and Serbian communities.