Kosovo: UN envoy to unveil final status proposal to both parties tomorrow

1 February 2007

The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Kosovo’s future status process Martti Ahtisaari will officially present his proposal on the Serbian province’s final status to the Serbian Government and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian-led provisional authorities tomorrow.

Mr. Ahtisaari will visit Belgrade and Pristina to brief each party, and he will hold press conferences in both cities, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters today.

Independence and autonomy are among options that have been mentioned for the province, where Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1, but Serbia rejects independence. The most recent UN report said the two sides remained “diametrically opposed” in their views.

The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has run the province since 1999, when troops from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) drove out Yugoslav forces amid ethnic fighting.

Mr. Ahtisaari has already presented the proposal to the so-called Contact Group – the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Russia – which have been helping to seek a solution.

After briefing Belgrade and Pristina, the envoy will then wait for feedback from the parties before sending the proposal to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will then transmit it to the Security Council.

On the eve of the official announcement, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Kosovo Joachim Rücker told the province’s Municipal Assembly presidents that a final status would not magically resolve all of its problems.

“The role of municipal authorities in making the future Kosovo sustainable socially and economically cannot be overestimated,” he said during a meeting at UNMIK headquarters in Pristina, stressing that they can play a particularly important role in promoting inter-ethnic dialogue, encouraging freedom of movement and spurring local economic development.

Mr. Rücker added that the decentralization of power in Kosovo is critical to making all ethnic communities feel at home.

 

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