11 May 2000


Press Release
SC/6856



DIVERGENT VIEWS EXPRESSED AS SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS KOSOVO MISSION REPORT

20000511

Normal Working Relationship with Belgrade Key to Many Problems, Says Russian Federation; Others Urge Focus on Big Picture, Not on Imperfections

The international community had invested heavily in Kosovo and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) could not afford to fail, the Head of the Security Council mission to Kosovo, Anwarul Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh), told the Security Council this morning.

The situation in Kosovo was extremely complex, as was the process of implementation of Council resolution 1244 (1999), he said. Every day brought in a new challenge, or a resurfacing of the one tackled earlier. The UNMIK and KFOR leaderships were engaged seriously in addressing those challenges with determination and promptness.

While normalcy was beginning to return to Kosovo, the security situation posed a major and continuing challenge to UNMIK and KFOR, he continued. The Council mission sent a strong message to the ethnic communities to reject all violence, to promote stability, safety and security and to cooperate fully with UNMIK in the implementation of resolution 1244. Given the urgency of the issue, there was strong support for the appointment of a special envoy for missing persons and detainees, he said.

He added that steps must be taken by the Secretariat and contributing countries to solve the shortage in staffing requirements for both civil administration and civilian police, which was a serious constraint for UNMIK operations.

The representative of the Russian Federation said it was clear that resolution 1244 was far from being implemented. The key to solving many of the problems in Kosovo was to establish normal and working relationships with Belgrade. While recognizing the positive results achieved, it was also necessary to focus on the shortcomings identified.

It was clear, he said, that UNMIK and KFOR could not guarantee security for all, as provided for in the resolution. Minority groups stated that they felt unsafe, did not have freedom of movement and faced discrimination in the job market and in access to health care. Also of concern were the persistent attacks on international personnel, for which there was presently no way to punish the perpetrators.


Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6856 4138th Meeting (AM) 11 May 2000

In addition, he continued, the Kosovo Liberation Army had not fully disarmed and there was an enormous amount of weaponry in Kosovo. There was also no response to the issue of using the territory of Kosovo for drug trafficking, a problem the UNMIK leadership claimed did not even exist. Also of concern was the implementation of portions of resolution 1244 pertaining to respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Further, on what basis were foreign offices and missions in Kosovo being established? he asked.

Since Serbs and other minority groups were not able to return to their homes in Kosovo, said China's representative, it was impossible for them to integrate into society. Without integration, the strengthening of the multi-ethnic interim administration was out of the question.

He stressed that the United Nations was emphatically not in Kosovo for the purpose of helping the locals gain independence. UNMIK should get that message across clearly to the local people. Any attempt to either discriminate against other ethnic groups in Kosovo or to pull Kosovo towards independence was dangerous, would give rise to new disturbances in the Balkans and thus victimize all the people of the region.

Several speakers admitted that there were flaws and imperfections in the implementation of resolution 1244. However, Malaysia's representative said it was important for the Council and the international community to look at the larger picture of what UNMIK was doing, rather than focus on the imperfections.

Canada's representative stated that UNMIK was not perfect, and while the Council had the right to offer constructive suggestions on ways to improve it, it also had the responsibility to ensure that it was properly staffed and financed. The United Nations success in Kosovo depended on the active engagement and support of each and every Member State of the Council and of the Organization.

Statements were also made by the representatives of France, United Kingdom, United States, Jamaica, Netherlands, Tunisia, Argentina, Namibia, Mali and Ukraine.

The meeting began at 10:50 a.m. and adjourned at 1:17 p.m.



Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6856 4138th Meeting (AM) 11 May 2000

Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this morning to discuss the situation in Kosovo. Before it was a report of its eight-member mission which visited Kosovo from 27 to 29 April (document S/2000/363).

The report states that the full and effective implementation of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) required sustained effort by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Kosovo Force (KFOR) (representing member States of NATO -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and the full participation of local communities. It also demanded the active engagement of and support by the international community.

All ethnic communities expressed a desire to live in peace together, the report observes, but due to the recent violent conflict they were still deeply divided and the healing would require a long time. The report adds that KFOR’s continued assistance in protecting minorities and joint security operations with UNMIK police remained vital.

Inadequate physical, social and economic security remained a major concern. Lack of freedom of movement and of access to education, health care, social services and employment hampered the return of internally displaced persons, primarily Serbs and Roma, and significantly impeded the integration of ethnic minorities into public life.

Progress towards peaceful coexistence remained fragile, the report states. Painful issues of missing persons and detainees, continuing violence and the return of internally displaced persons and refugees continued to be major impediments to reconciliation. They also undermined efforts to create a climate of tolerance and security.

The Security Council mission noted in its report the strong support of the different ethnic communities for the appointment of a special envoy for detainees and missing persons, and undertook to report it to the Council.

The lack of an effective and unbiased rule of law in Kosovo was a recurring theme at many of the mission’s meetings, according to the report. UNMIK’s intention to recruit international judges and prosecutors and their staff to work alongside their local counterparts would be critical to redress the perceived culture of impunity that currently undermined the judicial system.

If UNMIK was to increase the effectiveness of the Kosovo judiciary, the report says, substantial voluntary assistance, both in personnel and material resources, is required. UNMIK must also continue to accelerate its training programmes for the Kosovo Police Service. The multi-ethnic and gender-sensitive Kosovo Police Service development programme and the Kosovo Police School, led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), should serve as models for future institutions in Kosovo.

To ensure an organized, expeditious and sustainable return of refugees, the mission said significant resources would be required. It also noted in its report that a major effort by the international presence, and long-term nurturing, would be necessary to achieve progress in reconciliation of the various ethnic communities. None the less, the report states that the mission noted several examples of more positive relations between communities at the local level.

Substantial efforts by UNMIK and KFOR, backed up by the strong support of the international community, were essential to encourage and create the conditions for participation by Serbs, including those displaced outside Kosovo, in civil and voter registration for the forthcoming municipal elections. The mission welcomed the renewal of contacts between leaders of both communities in Mitrovica, and believed that joint community-based programmes had a potential for confidence- building and reconciliation.

The report states that the Mission is aware of the imperative need for UNMIK to foster economic recovery to underpin confidence-building and reconciliation efforts at the local level, and it welcomed the deployment of economic reconstruction representatives of the European Union at the municipal level. Unresolved property issues could potentially undermine international efforts at economic recovery of Kosovo, and even peace initiatives by UNMIK, according to the mission.

The enormity of the task faced by UNMIK is noted by the mission, which also commends in particular its efforts in capacity- and institution-building.

The report states that the mission had the following objectives: to look for ways to enhance support for the implementation of Council resolution 1244 (1999); to observe the operations and activities of UNMIK;, to gain a greater understanding of the situation on the ground to comprehend better the difficult challenges it faced; to convey a strong message to all concerned on the need to reject all violence, ensure public safety and order, promote stability, safety and security, support the full and effective implementation of Council resolution 1244 (1999) and fully cooperate with UNMIK to that end; and to review ongoing implementation of the prohibitions imposed by the Security Council in its resolution 1160 (1998).

During its three-day visit, the mission received a comprehensive briefing by the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Bernard Kouchner, as well as briefings by the heads of UNMIK’s four key components –- humanitarian, civil administration, institution-building and economic reconstruction.

The mission also met, among others, with representatives of Bosniac, Roma and Turkish communities at Prizren, members of the Kosovo Transitional Council, Bishop Artemje and members of the Serb National Council.

The mission was composed of the following Council members: Anwarul Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Head of the mission, Arnoldo M. Listre (Argentina), Michel Duval (Canada), Shen Guofang (China), M. Patricia Durrant (Jamaica), Hasmy Agam (Malaysia), Sergey V. Lavrov (Russian Federation) and Volodymyr Yel’chenko (Ukraine).

Statements

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), speaking in his capacity as leader of the Security Council mission to Kosovo, said it undertook a series of meetings with key actors, on-site visits to a number of places and encounters with representatives of various ethnic communities. The mission criss-crossed Kosovo from north to south and east to west -- from Mitrovica to Prizren, from Gnjilane to Djakovica, with Pristina as its hub. The mission had an opportunity to have a series of in-depth discussions and interactions with various key people of UNMIK and KFOR, in addition to its contacts with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bernard Kouchner, and Kosovo Force Commander General Juan Ortuno.

He said the situation in Kosovo was extremely complex. Equally complex was the process of implementation of Council resolution 1244 (1999). Every day brought in a new challenge, or a resurfacing of the one tackled earlier. The UNMIK and KFOR leaderships were engaged seriously in addressing those challenges with determination and promptness. The spirit of the staff of the international civil and security presence in Kosovo was very high, and the mission was extremely impressed by their teamwork and collaboration. He recommended to the Council details of the activities of the mission contained in the mission’s report.

He said a return to normalcy was gradually taking place in Kosovo. Economic activities were starting to pick up. However, the security situation posed a major and continuing challenge to UNMIK and KFOR. In its interaction with the ethnic communities, the mission sensed a clear desire to live in peace together and to engage in economic reconstruction and restitution of law and order. The mission made use of every possible opportunity to send a strong message to the ethnic communities to reject all violence, to promote stability, safety and security and to cooperate fully with UNMIK in the implementation of resolution 1244 (1999).

Given its urgency, he said the mission felt it was important to inform the Council of the strong support among the different ethnic communities for the appointment of a Special Envoy for Missing Persons and Detainees. The return of internally displaced persons should also be addressed.

The shortage in the staffing requirements for both civil administration and civilian police was a serious constraint for UNMIK operations, he said. Steps must be taken by the Secretariat and contributing countries to solve the problem with all urgency.

He read out the findings of the mission contained in its report to the Council, stressing that the international community had invested heavily in Kosovo and the Mission there could not afford to fail.

MICHEL DUVAL (Canada) said there was no question that the success of UNMIK and the full implementation of resolution 1244 depended first on ensuring “human security” for all residents of Kosovo. That was the priority task. It could be accomplished in a number of ways: by sending, as the mission did, a clear message to the local communities that violence would not be tolerated by the international community; by providing UNMIK with the civilian police resources it required to ensure personal safety and social order; and by supporting locally, at the community level, social and economic reconstruction efforts that were re-weaving the fabric of normal life after the devastation and violence so brutally inflicted by the Government in Belgrade.

A second issue was the question of missing and detained persons, he said. Under a recently signed agreement, Canada would provide 21 forensic experts over the coming months to assist the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in investigating war crimes in Kosovo. In addition, the Council needed to consider appointing a special envoy for detainees and missing persons. Such an envoy would bring attention and political will to an issue that required both. That issue was an essential part of the process of the full implementation of resolution 1244, and was crucial to stabilization and reconciliation efforts in Kosovo.

Also, ensuring the successful return of those refugees that were forced from their homes last year required many of the improvements in the social, economic and physical security already mentioned, he said. However, countries of origin also had the responsibility of ensuring that UNMIK was aware of expected flows of refugees back to Kosovo and capable of handling their reintegration into society.

Lastly, there was a more fundamental issue for which the Council had absolute authority -- active support by that body for the work of the United Nations in Kosovo. UNMIK was not perfect, and while the Council had the right to offer constructive suggestions on ways to improve it, it also had the responsibility to ensure that it was properly staffed and financed. The United Nations success in Kosovo depended on the active engagement and support of each and every Member State of the Council and of the Organization.

SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the Council mission’s report indicated that positive results had been reached in some areas. The purpose of the mission was to see how resolution 1244 was being implemented. While it recognized the positive elements, some persistent problems had also been identified. It was necessary to focus on those problems and shortcomings. First, with regard to the security situation in Kosovo, all the minority representatives had stated that they felt unsafe. They also lacked freedom of movement, faced discrimination in the job market and in access to health care. It was also noted that while they carried out dialogue among themselves, serious difficulties arose when it came to dialogue with representatives of the majority.

He said that terrorist acts continued, churches were being bombed and killings carried out. The Council must be cautious about UNMIK statistics reflecting a falling crime rate in Kosovo. The United Nations Police Commissioner had recognized that the drop in crime could be explained by the reduction in the number of minorities in the basic areas of settlement. The Council could be convinced that Pristina was beginning to look like a city that was alive and returning to normalcy. But the question was “who could live normally in that city"? There were practically no Serbs left there, or in many other towns that had been subjected to ethnic cleansing.

He was in favour of Mitrovica becoming an integrated and multi-ethnic city. In assessing the statistics on the drop in crime, it must be borne in mind that the number of such crimes as arson and abduction was not going down. Since the deployment of UNMIK, 900 persons had been abducted. Arson, which numbered 10 instances per day, also attested to the fact that it was not a simple crime, but one directed at intimidation with clear political overtones. It was obvious that UNMIK and KFOR could not guarantee the universal security provided for in resolution 1244.

Of particular concern, he said, were attacks against representatives of the international presence. At present, there was no way to punish those guilty of such attacks. He recalled the murder of a Russian member of KFOR whose killer had escaped from jail four times. The international presence was also denied freedom of movement, a situation that definitely applied to the Russian contingent. He underlined the importance of controlling the activities of the Kosovo Protection Corps. While in Kosovo, the mission was not shown the report prepared by UNMIK's human rights section on the activities of the Corps. He hoped that the report would be presented soon for consideration.

The Kosovo Liberation Army had not fully disarmed and there was an enormous amount of weaponry in Kosovo, he continued. Monitoring the borders in accordance with resolution 1160 was a priority task, and he hoped that the mission's request for more detailed information on compliance with the arms embargo would be met. In the absence of proper security, the problem of the return of internally displaced persons was not being resolved. Unfortunately, the question of when UNMIK would be prepared to implement that part of the resolution had not received a proper response. He had not detected even a general concept of the return of internally displaced persons to Kosovo. That was a serious omission on the part of the UNMIK command.

He was concerned that among Kosovo Albanian returnees, there were many who had been arrested for crimes in Western European countries and then sent back to Kosovo. That process had to be followed closely. The mission’s report had called for a thorough approach to the process of registration in order to prevent any further artificial disruption of the demographic balance in the province.

There had also been no reply to questions about the use of the territory of Kosovo for drug trafficking. The UNMIK leadership had stated that no such problem existed. But according to information provided by non-governmental organizations, 40 per cent of all heroin used in Western Europe travelled through Kosovo.

There prevailed a pessimistic attitude among the minorities, he said. If security did not improve radically by the summer, they intended to leave Kosovo to find a more tranquil place to live before the beginning of the coming school year. So the security situation was a priority both for KFOR and the International Police and the Kosovo Police. The question of the return of Yugoslav police in numbers agreed to earlier must also be urgently resolved.

Of equal concern, he said, was implementation of portions of resolution 1244 pertaining to respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Everything that UNMIK was now doing must correspond to that provision, and ensure the mandated autonomous functioning of Kosovo within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. That was not happening now; he hoped it would happen soon. The Joint Committee would soon be set up, and would begin its real work of resolving specific questions. He called on UNMIK to desist from taking actions that violated the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Another problem was the establishment of foreign offices and missions in Kosovo. On what basis were such offices being established? he asked.

It was clear that resolution 1244 was far from being implemented. Today, he said, much attention had been drawn to missing persons, which was a serious problem. The key to solving that and other problems in Kosovo consisted of establishing normal and working relationships with Belgrade. If UNMIK was serious about resolving the issue of missing persons, it should raise the question more energetically in its interactions with Belgrade.

He was concerned about the lack of agreement on the status of the international presence in Kosovo. Once again, he called on UNMIK to establish a normal agreement on status, both for itself and KFOR, with representatives of the host country. The problem of the return of refugees was being impeded by the presence of a large number of mines in Kosovo, as well as unexploded ordnance. That problem too must be addressed. There was also the issue of problems associated with NATO’s use of depleted-uranium weapons in the course of its military action in Kosovo. He would like the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) panel to continue its work on the issue, so that the Council could become acquainted with its findings. On the whole, the Council did need more detailed information on the situation in Kosovo. It was important to ensure a comprehensive approach to the implementation of resolution 1244.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said today’s meeting was being held, once again, without the benefit of input from the European Union. There was no justifying the omission. The European Union was one of the largest contributors to the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, having contributed 8 billion euros to the operation.

He went on to say that the Security Council mission to Kosovo had been necessary and useful because of what was at stake for the Organization. It was useful also for impressing on the people of Kosovo that violence would not be tolerated and that they must cooperate with UNMIK.

The Council mission had found that UNMIK had made remarkable progress in less than a year, and that the international community must be patient with the pace of UNMIK’s work. The mission's positive view of UNMIK's achievements was consistent with France’s own assessment. However, the forthcoming elections could bring about demographic shock, although registration had begun in good conditions. It was essential for everything possible to be done to bring about Serb participation in the elections and in the life of the general community. Citing a Serb presence in some bodies, he said it was important that conditions be created to strengthen that trend and to ensure Serb participation in the administration.

Improvement in the daily life of minorities was essential not only for those living in the province but also to encourage others who wished to return. That could be achieved by strengthening security. He noted an improvement in the security situation, but recalled that the Council mission had noted the lack of means available to UNMIK to establish the rule of law. Judges must be sent to the area. The culture of impunity should not continue. Those guilty of violations must be prosecuted. The question of detainees should be dealt with promptly, and France endorsed the idea of appointing a special envoy for detainees and missing persons. The envoy’s cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) would be essential.

The re-launching of economic activity should be pursued, he said, and noted what UNMIK had done to establish the framework for economic revitalization.

STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) said the report made clear that there was enormous public concern about the fate of those Kosovo Albanians who were detained elsewhere in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or had been missing since the end of the conflict last year. The international community’s efforts to make progress on that issue needed to be given a higher profile. He strongly supported the appointment of a special envoy to look into the question, in cooperation with UNMIK. The Special Representative should address the fate of all detained and missing persons, regardless of their ethnic origin.

He said that the mission was right to highlight the importance of reinforcing the justice system in Kosovo. His country stood ready to offer the United Nations some candidates for posts as international judges and prosecutors in Kosovo. He agreed that it was crucial to manage an orderly return process for refugees, both from the rest of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and from abroad. Adequate security for all returnees was essential. He welcomed the establishment of the Joint Committee on Returns to coordinate that process. Today's meeting should make one thing clear -- UNMIK was not only operating effectively, it was also doing so within the mandate set out in resolution 1244. And that resolution was being implemented, as the mission stated.

JAMES CUNNINGHAM (United States) said the report of the Council’s mission was an impressive achievement that added considerably to the Council’s understanding of the challenges UNMIK faced on the ground in Kosovo. His delegation was glad to see the mission’s unqualified praise for Special Representative Bernard Kouchner, who had done an outstanding job of leading UNMIK in the most difficult of circumstances.

It was good for the Council mission to see Mr. Kouchner in action and the hard task that he faced. Also, it was good for the Council to see firsthand the violence and devastation inflicted on the province by Belgrade, so as to understand more fully the problems which now existed. He hoped the report would also make clearer the disingenuousness of speaking of Belgrade’s willingness to cooperate in support of UNMIK’s mission.

As the Council mission had witnessed firsthand, the situation in Kosovo, although improving, continued to be extremely difficult. The sustained attention and ample resources of the international community would be needed to implement Security Council resolution 1244. It was clear that UNMIK had set the right goals for the future: consolidation of the rule of law and further work on the interim political framework.

Unquestionably, there continued to be a security gap in Kosovo which the United States wanted closed. He believed the mission had made important recommendations to that effect. He said additional international judges and resources for the judicial sector would help make fair trials and effective criminal prosecution the rule rather than the exception in all of Kosovo.

Kosovo, he said, must move expeditiously towards self-government, as called for in resolution 1244, under institutions designed to protect the interest of everyone in the province. Municipal elections were an important first step, he said. Recent reports that members of the Serb community were registering for elections against the wishes of their leaders suggested that UNMIK should redouble its efforts to encourage participation by all groups in those elections.

By clarifying the difficult issue of property ownership and adopting strong and sustainable macro-economic policies, UNMIK would help bring prosperity to Kosovo and strengthen its own administrative structure. Economic revitalization would also help reinforce programmes to promote the return of refugees and displaced persons. He underscored the importance of resolving the problem of the detainees and missing persons, adding that it must be addressed.

M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said the mission’s visit served to highlight the critical role of UNMIK. She paid tribute to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and to his staff. She said the visit not only provided an opportunity for the mission to meet with the administrative authorities in Kosovo but also with representatives of the various minorities to get their views of the future.

She said the situation in Kosovo was volatile. There was a need for the rule of law. The issue of missing persons and returnees must be dealt with. Violence aimed at minorities was worrying and UNMIK and KFOR consultations with the people at the community level must be encouraged. Despite its limited numbers, UNMIK continued to do a great job. The leaders of different ethnic groups must engage in dialogue. The need for more judges must be addressed if the rule of law was to be maintained. UNMIK police needed specialized units, and she hoped that would be dealt with by Member States.

Tackling the issue of missing persons was one of the important questions that must be resolved, and in a comprehensive manner. Her delegation supported the proposal to consider the appointment of a special envoy for missing persons and detainees.

Another issue of concern to her delegation was the forthcoming elections. Conditions must be created for all ethnic groups to participate in the voting. She saluted the work of United Nations volunteers in Kosovo, adding that the General Assembly should urgently address the staffing table of UNMIK.

Economic recovery as a means of promoting reconciliation was another challenge, she said. While there had been some improvements, more effort was needed. Attracting broad-based donor support was one way to move. The question of property rights remained unresolved. Ethnic hatred was unacceptable and would hamper reconciliation -- a message the mission had delivered. There was a need to assure the people of Kosovo that the international community would support them.

There was also a need to strengthen the arms embargo imposed by resolution 1160. As the mission’s report pointed out, there had been an improvement in the situation. KFOR must be made to provide monthly reports on its activities to help the Kosovo Sanctions Committee, of which she was Chairperson, in its work.

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) regretted the decision not to include non-members in today’s discussion. He greatly appreciated the fact that UNMIK was a complicated and difficult Mission, and the implementation of resolution 1244 was equally difficult. He noted, however, that the situation on the ground was far from ideal. There had been tremendous improvements in the situation due to the efforts of KFOR and the police. At the same time, security was still fragile and could be put in jeopardy. Hence, the presence of KFOR was crucial. Also important was the role of the judiciary in maintaining law and order. A stable and peaceful Kosovo would depend to a great extent on the credibility of its institutions.

Inter-ethnic relations and the need to forge multi-ethnic harmony were among the critical issues facing UNMIK, he continued. It was unrealistic to expect a quick process of reconciliation. The process must start now by instituting confidence-building measures. Clearly, no lasting reconciliation was possible unless the long-standing grievances of different communities were addressed. An important issue in that regard was the question of detained and missing persons of both communities, particularly the Kosovar Albanians. He supported the appointment of a special envoy for missing and detained persons. The early appointment of an envoy would contribute positively to the healing of the wounds of the past. That appointment had been the earnest and expressed desire of the people of Kosovo. For the envoy to be successful, all parties must extend their full cooperation to him, especially the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

He said that the future of Kosovo would depend on the management of the situation by the international community and the Kosovo people. He looked forward to sustained support for UNMIK, KFOR and the successful conduct of upcoming municipal elections. The international community must come to grips with those issues to ensure a long-term solution to the Kosovo question. Of course there were flaws and imperfections in the implementation of resolution 1244. However, it was important for the Council and the international community to look at the larger picture of what UNMIK was doing rather than focus on the imperfections.

ALPHONS HAMER (Netherlands) said that the report echoed the call by Mr. Kouchner for the appointment of a special envoy for detained and missing persons. That envoy’s mandate would require some careful drafting. Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and others should be giving the issue their full attention. He remained concerned with the continuing violence in Kosovo but noted that the mission had been useful in urging all communities to reject such violence.

Other recent developments had raised the hope that breaking with the destructive past was possible, he continued. There was Serbian participation in State structures, even if it was now only in an observer capacity. It was not constructive to note only the problems which still existed. It was a small miracle that there were still people left in Kosovo, people who were willing to break out of the past. They deserved undivided support. Preparations for the upcoming municipal elections were well under way. He hoped that the Serbs would realize that it was in their best interest to register for those elections. There were indications that public opinion was shifting in favour of the moderates. It was regrettable that Serb hardliners were still trying to obstruct the holding of successful elections.

OTHMAN JERANDI (Tunisia) said it was essential to exercise a little realism and to keep in mind that UNMIK had not been deployed long enough to fully execute its mandate. The results it had achieved so far were remarkable and must be acknowledged.

The report of the mission was full of positive signs, for example the desire by all the ethnic communities to live in peace. UNMIK’s measures to establish an interim administration and to rebuild economic infrastructures seemed likely to lead to lasting results. Access by the whole population to basic services must be enhanced.

In Tunisia’s opinion, it would be a good move for the Council to respond rapidly to the request for the appointment of a special envoy for disappeared and detained persons. Strengthening the rule of law would make it easier for the judicial system to assume its role. He called on the international community to support the creation of conditions favouring the return of refugees. He believed that the forthcoming municipal elections would make it possible to gauge the will of the various communities to live together, and to that end, he favoured broad participation by each and every community.

He appealed to Member States to support the efforts under way in Kosovo.

ARNOLDO M. LISTRE (Argentina) said his delegation thought the Security Council mission had fulfilled its objectives. Council resolution 1224 was being implemented properly and reasonably well in Kosovo as a result of the efforts of UNMIK and KFOR. His country was proud of its contribution to UNMIK. He said UNMIK and KFOR were working in difficult conditions and their needs should be met. Public order was being maintained and refugees encouraged to return to Kosovo.

He said the mandate for organizing and supervising institutions, including the holding of elections, was being carried out. Argentina hoped that the Serb community would participate in the elections. He trusted that the work of UNMIK and the Special Representative would allay the fears of the Serb community. The continued inter-ethnic violence, the question of missing persons and the return of refugees should also be tackled. He said violence had made it difficult for refugees to return. His delegation supported the appointment of a special envoy for missing persons, and hoped the envoy would have the support of the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said that the international community ought to support the efforts of UNMIK and KFOR in a sustainable manner, and at the same time continue to encourage the ethnic communities in Kosovo to participate actively in the process. As the report of the Council's mission to Kosovo made clear, UNMIK and KFOR faced Herculean tasks in providing for physical security, freedom of movement (particularly for ethnic minorities), access to education and health care, as well as guaranteeing the return of refugees and internally displaced persons.

His delegation welcomed the participation of Serbs as observers in the Joint Interim Administrative Structures, Kosovo Transitional Council and the Interim Administrative Council. He also hoped that soon the Serbs would upgrade their participation in those institutions. He encouraged the Bosniac and Roma representatives to join the Transitional Council.

The international community should help all the ethnic communities move towards peaceful coexistence, he said, noting the mission’s reference to the expressed desire of those communities to “live in peace together". Namibia hoped that the contacts between leaders of Albanian and Serb communities in Mitrovica would continue and would provide the opportunity for confidence-building and reconciliation.

Namibia agreed with the mission that the process of reconciliation, rebuilding and resettlement was a protracted one. But it was confident that the foundation derived from the work of the international community would continue to provide the people of Kosovo with the necessary ingredients for reorganizing their lives.

ILLALKAMAR AGOUMAR (Mali) said the report before the Council was significant. Although they had proclaimed their wish to live in peace, the different ethnic communities in Kosovo continued to be deeply divided. Progress along the road to peaceful coexistence remained fragile.

His delegation therefore considered the proposal to appoint a special envoy for missing persons and detainees was essential if the differences among the various ethnic communities were to be resolved. Mali strongly supported all measures, particularly those on confidence-building, to re-start the local economy. Given the terms of resolution 1060, and in the interests of transparency, KFOR should keep the Council informed of progress in Kosovo.

VOLODYMYR YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine) said that the mandate of the mission to Kosovo was successfully accomplished. Now it was essential for the Council to build on those findings and conclusions in order to define further steps towards the enhancement of the implementation of resolution 1244 and support to UNMIK. Having noticed some positive tendencies to normalization of life in the province, he remained concerned with the overall security situation, first and foremost as it related to the protection of ethnic minorities and their human rights. Although the crime rate in the province had gone down, it still remained high.

It was absolutely clear, he said, that unless the proper security of the national minorities was ensured and their basic human rights properly protected, they would continue to be subjected to violence and thus feel insecure about returning to Kosovo. Undoubtedly, all additional security arrangements should be undertaken by UNMIK and KFOR to reverse that situation. Given the urgent need to enhance the security situation and to assist UNMIK police in meeting the pressing requirements for specialized units, Ukraine was prepared to send a 110-strong specialized police unit. Also, preparations for the joint Ukrainian-Polish peacekeeping battalion earmarked for KFOR were under way.

While he supported the appointment of a special envoy for missing and detained persons, the creation of that post would not bring any results unless it was supported by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he said. That support was conditional on full implementation of all provisions of resolution 1244. Also, everything should be done to ensure participation of all Kosovo inhabitants in civil registration and municipal elections, whether they were currently being held in or outside the province. Denial of the right of the numerous Kosovo inhabitants outside the province to take part in those elections might give them grounds to challenge the legitimacy of the final results.

As to the future of Kosovo, he said that it would be impossible to tackle that issue without the direct engagement of the parties -- the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Albanians of Kosovo. No decision, regardless of how attractive it was to the international community, would be workable unless it was directly negotiated and implemented by the parties themselves. The final decision could not be imposed on the parties to the conflict. Finally, reconstruction efforts in the region as a whole should be cohesive, and not used as a means of political pressure.

Mr. CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), speaking in his national capacity, said that improvement in the security situation in Kosovo called for the urgent deployment of approved security personnel. Also necessary was stimulation of economic activities and reconstruction. Community-based programmes needed to be undertaken extensively. With regard to missing and detained persons, he supported the appointment of a special envoy. Having personally seen the agony of hundreds of families in Kosovo, he reiterated his strong support for such an appointment. It was crucial for mutual trust and confidence-building among the different communities.

Improvement in the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons and their return hinged on the perception of security as well as a functioning judiciary, he continued. The role of UNHCR in that regard was very much appreciated. The matter should be closely monitored by the Council. The foundations of sustainable peace and reconciliation were to be laid by a culture of peace by all, particularly the younger generation.

WANG YINGFAN (China), President of the Council, said his delegation shared the regrets expressed that some countries, including the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, had not been able to address the Council. He hoped the situation would

change. He said it was highly necessary that the situation in Kosovo be reviewed comprehensively, as the KFOR and UNMIK had been deployed there for almost a year. China appreciated their dedication and hard work.

He said the security situation, the physical security of Serbs and other minorities in particular, was still worrying. Due to the extreme lack of a sense of safety, and given the situation of Serbs and other minorities, there still existed enormous difficulties in the way of the return of internally displaced persons and refugees from third countries, even though UNMIK had emphasized it was a priority. In Pristina, where 40,000 Serbs and Montenegrins had once lived, there were now fewer than 100 Serbs. It was a horrible situation, he said.

Since Serbs and other minority groups were not able to return normally to their homes in Kosovo, he said it was impossible for them to integrate into society. Without integration, similarly, the “strengthening of the multi-ethnic interim administration" was out of the question. Regarding the forthcoming municipal elections, he said that careful planning and preparation must be carried out in addition to improvements in the security situation. The registration of voters must ensure broad representation, especially of minorities. Otherwise, there was no way to guarantee the fairness of the elections.

He stressed that Council resolution 1244 must be fully implemented. UNMIK must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the laws of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and seek its cooperation and participation. He said some administrative measures currently adopted in Kosovo had undermined the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He mentioned identification documents issued in Kosovo without Yugoslav authorization stamps issued, and the flying of the Albanian flag beside the United Nations flag at the UNNMIK compound. He said some foreign guests had visited Kosovo without notifying the Yugoslav authorities, and some countries had also sent diplomatic representatives without prior consultation.

Security Council resolution 1244 reaffirmed the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he pointed out. The United Nations was not in Kosovo for the purpose of helping the locals gain independence. UNMIK should get that message across unmistakably to the local people, he said.

Any attempt either to discriminate against other ethnic groups in Kosovo’s public life, or to pull Kosovo towards independence, was dangerous. It would give rise to new disturbances in the Balkans and thus eventually victimize people of all countries in the region, he added.

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