United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed as “a good example of cooperation” with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Ramush Haradinaj’s resignation as Kosovo Prime Minister and his voluntary surrender after the court indicted him for his role in the 1998-99 fighting there.
“It is essential that we all remain focused on the work at hand so that we can move forward in building a stable, multiethnic and democratic Kosovo,” he said in a statement issued by his spokesman on the Serbian province, which the UN has run since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) drove out Yugoslav troops amid grave human rights abuses in fighting between Albanians and Serbs in 1999.
Mr. Annan also welcomed the fact that the local government, political leaders and the people of Kosovo have expressed their feelings related to Mr. Haradinaj’s resignation and departure in a peaceful, democratic manner.
“Building on the achievements reached under the government led by Mr. Haradinaj, Kosovo must continue to make progress on the implementation of standards without delay,” the statement said of the benchmarks needed to proceed to final status talks, such as democratic institutions, minority rights and an impartial legal system to build trust between majority Albanians and minority Serbs. Albanians outnumber other communities, mainly Serbs, by about 9 to 1.
Mr. Annan also pledged the readiness of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) “to continue to support the people and Provisional Institutions of Kosovo in the implementation of standards.”