Violence not an option, stresses UN envoy to Kosovo

Joachim Rücker, Special Representative of the Secretary-General

20 February 2008 – All sides in Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia on Sunday, must refrain from violence, the top United Nations official there said today, noting that the situation is currently calm following yesterday’s attacks on two border crossings.

“Violence is absolutely not an option and it will not be tolerated in Kosovo,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Joachim Rücker, told reporters in Pristina following a meeting with Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi.

The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), headed by Mr. Rücker, reports that the two crossing gates in northern Mitrovica that had been closed as a result of yesterday’s attacks by Serb fringe groups have been re-opened.

Mr. Rücker said he saw the attacks as a “one-time incident” and that it was responded to in an appropriate way.

Both Mr. Rücker and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have in recent days stressed the need for everyone in Kosovo, which the UN has run since 1999, to exercise calm and respect UNMIK and the NATO-led Kosovo Force, or KFOR.

Other than yesterday’s attack, the situation has remained generally calm since the Assembly of Kosovo’s Provisional Institutions of Self-Government adopted a resolution on Sunday declaring its independence from Serbia.

Belgrade and Pristina were unable to reach agreement on Kosovo’s status, which had been the subject of months of negotiations led by the troika, comprising the European Union, Russia and the United States. That group was set up after a stalemate emerged over a proposal by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, for a phased process of independence for Kosovo.


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