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Kosovo mission has ‘green light’ to start reconfiguration, says UN envoy

Kosovo mission has ‘green light’ to start reconfiguration, says UN envoy

Secretary-General's Special Representative Lamberto Zannier
The top United Nations official in Kosovo said today that the plan put forward by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reconfigure the world body’s presence there was set to begin.

In the wake of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in February, Mr. Ban has proposed adjusting the profile and structure of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

His proposals include an enhanced operational role for the European Union in the area of rule of law under a UN “umbrella” headed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and in line with the 1999 Security Council resolution that established the mission.

The Secretary-General’s newly-appointed Special Representative, Lamberto Zannier, said he now had a “green light from New York” to proceed with the UNMIK’s reconfiguration.

Speaking to the press after a meeting with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, Mr. Zannier said that the conditions now existed for him to start moving towards a 120-day reconfiguration period, most likely finishing at the end of October.

The transition will result in the substantial reduction of the structures of UNMIK, in line with the new realities on the ground and the role that new actors are expected to play, added the Special Representative, who took up his duties in Pristina last Friday.

A reconfigured UNMIK, according to Mr. Ban’s plan, would continue to carry out many functions, including those related to a dialogue with Serbia on provisions in six areas: police, courts, customs, transport and infrastructure, boundaries and Serbian patrimony.

UNMIK has been in place since mid-1999 after NATO forces drove Yugoslav troops out of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and other minorities by nine to one, that year amid deadly inter-communal fighting.