19/06/2001
Press Release
SC/7078



Security Council

4331st Meeting (PM)


SITUATION IN KOSOVO COMPLEX, VOLATILE, SAYS COUNCIL PRESIDENT,

PRESENTING REPORT OF COUNCIL MISSION TO YUGOSLAVIA


The intensity of the recent Security Council mission to Kosovo, the compactness of the programme and the wealth of input had yielded good results in terms of the mission's objectives, and had continued the trend set by the last mission to the province last year, Anwarul Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh), President of the Security Council, told that body's members this afternoon.


As he presented the report of the recent Council mission to Kosovo, which he headed, he said that the mission had visited Kosovo, Mitrovica and Belgrade from 16 to 18 June.  The mission's programme had been tightly scheduled and intense.  It had undertaken a series of meetings with the key actors in Kosovo, met the representatives of various communities, and had talks in Belgrade with the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Vojislav Kostunica, the Foreign Minister and the Interior Minister.


The situation in Kosovo was complex, he continued.  The process of implementing Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) was complicated, as well, and made the task of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) a momentous one.  With the upcoming elections in Kosovo on 17 November, that task had become even more arduous.  The UNMIK and KFOR were nevertheless deeply engaged in addressing the volatile situation.


 He said an important element was UNMIK's developing dialogue with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  The UNMIK had also now established an office in Belgrade  -- a long-standing priority. 


During the mission's discussion with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, a fruitful exchange on a wide range of pertinent issues in the region had taken place.  They included the means for establishing a multi-ethnic Kosovo, strategies for combating terrorism and conditions for the return of the Kosovo-Serb community and their participation in the forthcoming province-wide elections.


During the meetings in Belgrade, discussions had focused on issues of mutual concern, including security, return of Kosovo Serbs, the constitutional framework and elections, and the need for confidence-building measures.  The mission underlined that participation in the political process was a prerequisite for progress in areas of mutual concern, and called on the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to assist in reinforcing that message to the Kosovo-Serb community.


While UNMIK had made considerable progress in implementing resolution 1244 (1999), a lot still remained to be done.  The UNMIK had now reached a critical

stage in the implementation of its mandate, and continued effectiveness required a major effort on its part and by its police and KFOR, backed up by close attention from the Council and the sustained input of resources from the international community.


The meeting, which began at 4:12 p.m., was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.


Background


The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the report on the Council mission to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, on 16, 17 and 18 June.  All 15 Council members were included in the mission, which was led by the Council President, Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh).


The mission took place in the context of the upcoming elections in Kosovo, scheduled for 17 November, and also in the context of the relations that the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) had established with Belgrade, particularly in light of the meeting the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, had held on 11 June with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica.


Introduction of Mission Report


ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), President of the Security Council, presented the report of the recent Council mission to Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


He said the mission, which he headed, visited Kosovo, Mitrovica and Belgrade in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 16 to 18 June.  What was significant was that all Council members had joined in, it was the first mission led by a Council President, and it had included Belgrade in its itinerary.  Good discussions had been held with the leaders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in that country’s capital.  There had also been an unscheduled but important meeting with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation.


The programme of the mission had been tightly scheduled and intense.  It  had undertaken a series of meetings with the key actors in Kosovo, met the representatives of various communities, and had talks in Belgrade with the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Vojislav Kostunica, the Foreign Minister and the Interior Minister.  The mission also had the opportunity to hold in-depth discussions with UNMIK and KFOR and with Hans Haekkerup, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.


He believed the intensity of the visit and the compactness of the programme, accompanied by the wealth of inputs received, had yielded very good results in terms of the mission's objectives, and had continued the trend set by the Council in its last mission to the province last year.


He underscored that the situation in Kosovo was complex.  The process of implementing Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) was complicated, as well,

and made the task of UNMIK a momentous one.  With upcoming elections in Kosovo on 17 November, that task had become even more arduous.  The UNMIK and KFOR were deeply engaged in addressing the volatile situation.

An important element, he said, was UNMIK's developing dialogue with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its efforts to engage the province's Serb community in the process.  Mr. Haekkerup had now met four times with President Kostunica and several times with the Foreign Minister.  The UNMIK had also now established an office in Belgrade and that had been a long-standing priority. 


He said the mission had made use of all opportunities to send a strong message to the ethnic communities to reject violence and to cooperate fully with UNMIK in the implementation of resolution 1244 (1999).  He was pleased to say that that message had been taken seriously.  Some progress had been made in the area of Kosovo-Serb return.  At the beginning of this month, the Interim Administrative Council had endorsed a Statement of Principle on the issue.


During the mission's discussion with President Putin, a fruitful exchange on a wide range of pertinent issues in the region had taken place.  They included the means for establishing a multi-ethnic Kosovo, strategies for combating terrorism, and conditions for the return of the Kosovo-Serb community and their participation in the forthcoming province-wide elections.


On its last day, the mission, accompanied by the Special Representative, met in Belgrade with President Kostunica, and his Foreign and Interior Ministers.  The discussions focused on issues of mutual concern, including security, return of Kosovo Serbs, the constitutional framework and elections, as well as the need for confidence-building measures.  The mission underlined that participation in the political process was a prerequisite for progress in areas of mutual concern, and called on the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to assist in reinforcing that message to the Kosovo-Serb community.


He said that while UNMIK had made considerable progress in implementing resolution 1244 (1999) in the two years since its establishment, a lot still remained to be done.  The UNMIK had now reached a critical stage in the implementation of its mandate and continued effectiveness required a major effort on its part and by its police and KFOR, backed up by close attention from the Council and the sustained input of resources from the international community.


While the mission was in no doubt that strong reservations existed about  the difficulties in holding forward elections in Kosovo on the basis of a constitutional framework, it also recognized that the status quo was unacceptable, and that the political process had to be taken forward in accordance with resolution 1244 (1999).  It, therefore, underlined that elections would enhance the democratic process in the province and the stability of the region and stressed that secure conditions for the elections should be ensured.  The participation of all communities in the election, the return of refugees and displaced persons and their participation in elections should be encouraged.


He said the mission had also made a number of other important observations and findings, and those were detailed in the report.


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