Plan to reconfigure UN presence in Kosovo 'least objectionable' option – Ban

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Gordon Brown at press conference

13 June 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that while his proposal to reconfigure the world body's presence in Kosovo, giving the European Union an enhanced role, may not please everyone, it was the “least objectionable” option.

“I am well aware that this package may not fully satisfy all sides,” Mr. Ban told reporters in London after his meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

“Yet it is my honest belief, after considerable time discussing this issue with all concerned parties, that what I have proposed will prove to be the least objectionable course to all, and can offer us a way forward,” he added.

In the wake of Kosovo's decision earlier this year to declare its independence from Serbia, Mr. Ban has submitted to the Security Council plans to adjust the mandate of the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Under his proposal, the EU would play an enhanced operational role in the rule of law area under a UN “umbrella” headed by his Special Representative, in line with the original 1999 resolution that established the mission.

The Secretary-General has written to both President Boris Tadic in Belgrade and Fatmir Sejdiu in Pristina to inform them of the plans.

Mr. Ban said he discussed the proposals with Mr. Brown today, as well as with other key stakeholders yesterday while in Paris for the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan.

“My aim has been to pursue a modus vivendi that is acceptable to the parties and would be supported by the key international stakeholders. I sincerely believe that this package achieves that goal,” the Secretary-General stated.

While in London, Mr. Ban met with British Foreign Minister David Miliband. In addition, the Secretary-General and his wife, Ban Soon-taek, had an audience with Queen Elizabeth II.

In an address to the UN Association of the UK, Mr. Ban also stressed the central role of the Organization in world affairs, highlighting the UN's work on climate change, global health, terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation.

“I am convinced that if we do not collaborate on these four global challenges now, they will escalate to global threats of irreversible proportions in the future,” he told the gathering, held at the Royal Geographical Society.

“These issues differ qualitatively from all other matters of global concern because: they endanger all countries – rich and poor – and all people; they cross borders and are highly contagious; and they can only be resolved with action by all nations and all peoples,” the Secretary-General said.

He added that today's complex and global challenges represent exactly the environment in which the UN should thrive since no country can resolve these problems on its own. “They signal a world where the United Nations can, and must, grow and take on new roles, develop and deliver on new fronts,” he said.

Mr. Ban heads to Jeddah on Saturday for a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, before returning to the UK on Sunday for further talks with British officials and to mark the 60th anniversary of the London-based International Maritime Organization.


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