The United Nations mission in Kosovo continues to operate on the assumption that the 1999 Security Council resolution that gave it administrative authority following ethnic bloodshed is still in force, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in his first report on the issue since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on 17 February.
In his report on the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), covering the period from 12 December 2007 to 1 March, Mr. Ban affirms that resolution 1244 remains in effect “unless the Security Council decides otherwise” and that Kosovo’s leaders and the Serbian Government are still committed to its provisions.
The Secretary-General adds, however, that Kosovo’s declaration of independence and subsequent events have posed significant challenges to UNMIK’s ability to exercise its authority.
“Pending Security Council guidance, there might be a need for UNMIK to adjust its operational deployment to deal with developments and changes on the ground in a manner consistent with resolution 1244,” he says.
He reports that the minority Kosovo Serbs, who condemned the declaration of independence, have expanded their boycott of the institutions of Kosovo to include the Kosovo Police Service (KPS), the Kosovo Corrections Service, the judicial system, municipal administration, and UNMIK railways and customs.
In several Kosovo Serb areas in southern Kosovo, Kosovo Serb police officers stated that they would no longer recognize the KPS chain of command and demanded that they be placed under the direct command of international UNMIK police officers.
The overall security situation in Kosovo during the reporting period remained “calm though tense,” he states, and most Kosovo Serb demonstrations have been peaceful, though serious violent incidents occurring in the days immediately before and after the declaration of independence.
Hand grenade and arson attacks were directed against UNMIK and European Union premises and vehicles in northern Mitrovica and Zubin Potok, which caused limited material damage, he reports, and there two customs service points on the administrative boundary line were attacked and destroyed on 19 February.
The 14 March attack on the District Court building of UNMIK in North Mitrovica is not discussed because it occurred after the reporting period.
However, the Secretary-General stresses that any violence, whether directed at UNMIK personnel or facilities or against members of any of Kosovo’s communities, is “unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”
He urges all sides to reaffirm their commitments to refrain from any actions or statements that could endanger peace or lead to violence.
Meanwhile, he says, the efforts of the UN in Kosovo are aimed at ensuring that the political and security situation in Kosovo and the wider region remains stable, and that the safety and security of the population are preserved.