Annan's recipe for Kosovo: strengthen security and economy, include minorities

16 December 2004 –

A comprehensive strategy addressing both security and economic problems besetting United Nations-administered Kosovo, as well as the inclusion of Serbs and other minorities with the majority Albanians in provisional arrangements, are among Secretary-General Kofi Annan's recommendations released today for moving the province towards final status.

"While security underlies all other activities in Kosovo, revitalization of the economy remains an overriding concern," Mr. Annan says in the document sent to the Security Council on the province that has been under UN administration since 1999 when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) drove Yugoslav troops out amid Albanian-Serb fighting.

He stresses the need for "sustained action" to deal with both the consequences and causes of deadly violence in March, the worst in the five years of UN administration, when an onslaught by Albanian extremists to drive out Serb, Roma and Askhali communities led to 19 people being killed, nearly 1,000 injured and hundreds of homes and centuries-old Serbian cultural sites razed or burned.

This element forms one of several main components of the integrated strategy, including an improvement of internal dialogue at all levels, more comprehensive talks with Serbia, of which Kosovo is a province, and revamping the eight so-called standards that set specific goals in such areas as building democratic institutions, enforcing minority rights, creating a functioning economy and establishing an impartial legal system.

A comprehensive review of progress in achieving the standards may be held in mid-2005, on the basis of which the Security Council will determine whether to begin the process leading to a determination of Kosovo's future status.

All communities must actively participate in the so called Provisional Institutions, the Albanian-dominated interim body to which some local powers have been transferred, Mr. Annan says in the document, which is based on a report from Norwegian Ambassador Kai Eide, who conducted a detailed review of the implications of March's violence.

"In order to further this process, there is a need to build additional capacities within the Provisional Institutions," the Secretary-General adds, noting that UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo is working in this area.

Mr. Annan stresses that midterm and long-term economic strategy must be complemented by effective short-term measures, calling on the European Union (EU) to urgently design and implement a development strategy.

"Economic development should improve not only general social and economic conditions, but also the social context for security and stability," he says.

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