Cooperation between evolving UN mission and Kosovo focus of Pristina talks

8 August 2008

Senior United Nations official Nicholas Haysom held talks today in Pristina with the Kosovo leadership on issues relating to the evolving role of the world body’s mission there, which has had to adjust to a new reality on the ground since Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February.

Mr. Haysom, who just arrived in Kosovo, shared with President Fatmir Sejdiu and Deputy Prime Minster Hajredin Kuçi the reconfiguration plans for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which will result in the substantial downsizing of staff.

“I had very constructive meetings with the Kosovo leadership,” said Mr. Haysom, who serves as the Secretary-General’s Acting Principal Deputy Special Representative in Kosovo.

“We agreed to enhance the fruitful cooperation between UNMIK and the Kosovo institutions that has existed over the years and that is now moving into a new dimension in light of UNMIK’s current and future role,” he added.

The plan put forward by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June includes 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.

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, amid deadly inter-communal fighting that year.

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Recent events make it more challenging for UN to administer Kosovo - envoy

The situation in Kosovo has changed fundamentally in the past few months and events on the ground have contributed to creating a “profoundly new operating reality” for the United Nations Interim Administration Mission there (UNMIK), the world body’s top official in Kosovo told the Security Council today.