SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS BRIEFING BY HEAD OF UN INTERIM ADMINISTRATION MISSION IN KOSOVO
SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS BRIEFING BY HEAD OF UN INTERIM ADMINISTRATION MISSION IN KOSOVO
SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS BRIEFING BY HEAD OF UN INTERIM ADMINISTRATION MISSION IN KOSOVO20000609
The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) would need a significant number of years to complete its job, Bernard Kouchner, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of UNMIK told the Security Council this morning.
Describing the briefing as a progress report, he said the situation in Kosovo could not be adequately assessed after just one year. While much had been done in the last 12 months, years more would be needed to build a society based on tolerance and democracy. After ethnic cleansing, sanctions and bombing, there had been nothing left when the United Nations had arrived in Kosovo. Thousands of people had been killed and their homes destroyed.
While the Mission could not yet be called a triumph for the United Nations, UNMIK staff were working extremely hard in an inhospitable environment. The situation was still precarious for non-Albanian people and additional steps must be taken to protect minorities.
Regarding returnees, he said their protection was still a major objective. Large numbers were returning to Kosovo, as was their right. But a 20 per cent increase in population would create difficulties and challenges. Half of those already there were unemployed and a moratorium might be necessary at some point to ensure an orderly and well-supported return.
The issue of detainees and missing persons must also be addressed, he stressed. Some 950 Kosovo Albanians were held in Serbian prisons. He believed a special envoy for missing persons would be appointed.
The UNMIK was in regular contact with Belgrade, and was willing to broaden those contacts, he said. However, Belgrade had responded negatively to requests for help in getting Kosovo Serbs and those Kosovars in Serbia to register for municipal elections to be held in October. More than 400,000 people had already registered.
Another critical point was the uncertainty about Kosovo's future status, he said. Resolution 1244 (1999) lacked clarity on that matter and discussion of the issue by the Council would be welcome.
The Russian Federation's representative said that since the establishment of UNMIK, the Yugoslav Government had done all that the Council's resolution had asked of it. However, there was a clear trend aimed at separating Kosovo from theSecurity Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6873 4153rd Meeting (AM) 9 June 2000
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which could destabilize the entire Balkan region. The UNMIK and KFOR had provoked and encouraged that trend, particularly through their lack of cooperation with Belgrade. The UNMIK had shown no respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The representative of the Netherlands questioned the accuracy of the Russian Federation's representative regarding Belgrade's readiness to cooperate, especially on the question of detainees. He added that Kosovo's future status should be considered at a later date and that the international community should focus on reconstruction and the upcoming municipal elections.
Ukraine's representative said that the provision of resolution 1244 (2000) on Kosovos future status remained unfulfilled. Agreement must eventually be reached between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanians through direct or proximity talks under international auspices. As long as the Security Council failed to address directly the core issue of autonomy and self- administration for Kosovo, the efforts of UNMIK and KFOR could be counter- productive.
Jean-David Levitte (France), Council President, speaking in his national capacity, said that an understanding of what Kosovo was like 12 months ago would enable consideration of how much had been done since. The simplest things in the daily life of Kosovo's people were victories by UNMIK over the past. Community leaders must shoulder their responsibilities and do everything to see that interethnic attacks were not repeated.
Speaking as Council President, Mr. Levitte (France) then reported on his meeting with a delegation of Kosovo Serbs yesterday, at which its members expressed their concern over the rising violence and intimidation against their community in Kosovo.
Also speaking this morning were the representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, China, Argentina, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Jamaica, Canada and Namibia.
Today's meeting began at 11:10 a.m. and adjourned at 2:10 p.m.
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6873 4153rd Meeting (AM) 9 June 2000
Council Work Programme
Before the Council was the Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document S/2000/538).
The UNMIK was established, for an initial period of 12 months, on 10 June 1999 by Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), soon after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) suspended air operations following the withdrawal of security forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from Kosovo. It is an interim international civilian administration. The Council has mandated the Mission to be the civilian authority in the territory, holding legislative, executive and judicial powers.
It is charged with promoting the establishment of substantial autonomy and self-government in Kosovo, performing basic civilian administrative functions, facilitating a political process to determine Kosovo's future status, supporting reconstruction of key infrastructure and humanitarian and disaster relief, maintaining law and order, promoting human rights and assuring the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo.
Four international organizations and agencies are working together in one operation under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary- General, Bernard Kouchner. The four sectors, also known as the "four pillars", are: civil administration, under the United Nations itself; humanitarian assistance, led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); democratization and institution-building, led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); and economic reconstruction, managed by the European Union.
The report covers UNMIK activities from 3 March to 3 June 2000. The Secretary-General concludes that, notwithstanding persistent security concerns, Kosovo is definitely a better place today than it was 12 months ago. In the reporting period, UNMIK consolidated central and municipal structures in the province's interim administration. The composition of these structures became more reflective of the of Kosovo's population.
He notes that harassment and intimidation of non-Albanian communities continued at unacceptable levels, and that, despite some improvements, the security situation remains fragile. The most notable political development in the period was the decision by the Serb National Council in Gracanica, despite opposition from other Kosovo Serbs and the Federal Yugoslav Government, to join the Joint Interim Administrative Structure as observers for an initial three-month period.
The trend towards pluralism within the Kosovo Albanian community continued, he reports, with a number of political parties growing out of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Similarly, there are now parties representing the Kosovo Bosniac and Turkish communities.
The development of municipalities in Kosovo is an essential element in the establishment of self-government as mandated by the Council, the report states, and a draft regulation on self-government of municipalities is expected in coming weeks. As of 29 May, 27 out of 30 multi-ethnic municipal councils have been established, although all are interim, pending municipal elections planned for October. Limited participation in municipal structures remained a source of concern.
The general security situation has not changed significantly since March, the Secretary-General reports, with minorities still subject to intimidation, assaults and threats. UNMIK crime analysts estimate that about 66 per cent of serious crime is inter-ethnic, directed mostly against Kosovo Serbs, with 80 per cent of arson identifiable as inter-ethnic crime. Mitrovica continues to be a flash point for violence, but additional UNMIK and KFOR personnel have been deployed there as part of enhanced security measures.
Armed clashes still occur occasionally between elements of the ethnic Albanian group Liberation Army of Presovo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB) and Yugoslav security forces. Both KFOR and UNMIK continue to closely monitor this situation, and contingency plans remain in place in case of large-scale population movements that might result from incidents.
There is no evidence that Yugoslav military or paramilitary units are operating within Kosovo, the report states, nor that formed units of the KLA are still operational. A large number of weapons have been confiscated, at a rate of around 10 to 15 weapons per week.
The report notes that, as of 29 May, the civilian administration pillar of UNMIK had 292 international personnel, out of 435 authorized, with headquarters staffing levels at 86 per cent. In the regions and municipalities, staffing levels range from 42 to 60 per cent of authorized levels. The institution-building pillar (OSCE) had 564 international staff of 751 authorized. The humanitarian pillar (UNHCR) had 63 international staff, while the economic reconstruction pillar had 63. There were 547 United Nations volunteers in Kosovo. At 24 May, 3,626 civilian police, of 4,718 authorized, had been deployed.
The UNMIK has made great progress in both containing the conflict and sharing responsibilities with local communities, the report states, although much still needs to be done. An environment has been created whereby the population has become engaged in, and committed to, the process of creating provisional institutions for self-government.
Regrettably some elements of Kosovo society have not changed, the report continues, with minority communities, such as Kosovo Serbs, still attacked and threatened. UNMIK staff have also been killed by extremists. Local leaders and others have made encouraging efforts, but understanding and tolerance remain scarce and reconciliation is far from a reality. It is vital that leaders and ordinary people make personal and concerted efforts to bring violence, intimidation and harassment to an end, and nurture the basic prerequisites for a peaceful society.
The fate of missing people and the continued detention of Kosovo people in prisons in Serbia remains a cause for concern, the report notes, and must be addressed urgently. The Secretary-General calls on all Member States to contribute to efforts to remedy these problems, through providing funds and personnel for ongoing exhumations, and through political and diplomatic efforts. He also calls on the Yugoslav Government to work with the United Nations to resolve the detention issue, and reports he is actively considering the appointment of a Special Envoy for missing persons, detainees and prisoners.
He notes that the local judiciary has not yet proven capable of distancing itself from the recent conflict and, therefore, international judges, prosecutors and support staff must be provided, and professional training and development of the local judiciary must be supported. This means that both funds and personnel are required. He urgently appeals to Member States to provide UNMIK with enough police officers and special police units to fulfil its mandate. Voluntary funds for the Kosovo Protection Corps will be exhausted by August, he notes, and continuing support is essential.
Good progress has been made in establishing a macroeconomic framework in Kosovo, the report states, thanks to substantial help from donors, especially the European Union. An immediate objective is to boost revenue collection to improve the sustainability of the Kosovo budget, through enhanced tax collection and improvements in cost collection by utilities. Another objective is to implement a policy-driven public investment programme, called Reconstruction 2000, to help channel funds to reconstruction priorities. The economy today is remarkably vibrant, the report continues, with 70 per cent of private enterprises restarted, winter wheat planting at 80 per cent of historic average levels, and a booming construction industry. Unemployment, however, remains around 50 per cent, and much needs to be done to develop a legal and institutional framework to encourage enterprise development.
The return of all the people of Kosovo remains a key to rebuilding the shattered society, the Secretary-General reports. The exercise of this unconditional right will be governed by conditions of security and sustainability, which UNMIK will strive to create. Resources and political support for voluntary returns and the management of forced returns are essential.
The municipal elections due in October will give nascent political parties the chance to achieve electoral support, and are the vital next step in creating an inclusive society, the report states. The Secretary-General urges all people to register to vote and to participate in these elections. Democracy must begin to take root, but this will not happen quickly or easily. The development by UNMIK of a contract with the people of Kosovo is an important element in creating an obligation on all parties to work for peace and stability.
In the last few weeks of the reporting period, there has been an upsurge in attacks on Kosovo Serbs that appear to be part of a concerted campaign, the Secretary-General notes. As the international community did not intervene in Kosovo to make it a haven for crime and revenge, leaders and residents must meet their obligations and responsibilities to make Kosovo a secure place to live. The Secretary-General concludes by thanking his Special Representative and UNMIK and UNHCR staff.
The Council President, JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), welcomed a delegation of Serbs from Kosovo to the Council chamber. He had met with the delegation yesterday, he said. He also welcomed Bishop Atijme.
Bernard Kouchner, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), briefed the Council. He said that he did not believe that the situation could be adequately assessed after just one year, so he would merely give a progress report. One year ago, the United Nations had been moving towards the Balkans with one simple idea - peace. After bombing, sanctions and ethnic cleansing, when the United Nations arrived there was nothing in Kosovo. It was a desert. Thousands were dead. Houses had been destroyed.
The international community needed time - a lot of time, and patience, he said. The job in Kosovo would not take a month or 12 months, but a significant number of years. Much progress had been made in the last 12 months, although a lot remained to be done. Years would be needed to build a society based on tolerance and democracy; it could not be done overnight.
He had expected that there would be violence as the expiry date of UNMIKs mandate drew closer, and some believed the United Nations and KFOR would withdraw, he said, and this had proven true. In Kosovo, the international community - after communism and then conflict - had had to start from zero.
That there had been no humanitarian crisis last winter, when the temperature had fallen to minus 30 degrees, was an achievement, he said. He detailed the achievements so far, and the various stages of the mission.
He could not say that this Mission was a triumph for the United Nations yet, he said. However, UNMIK staff were working extremely hard in an inhospitable environment. He called on Member States to provide the necessary personnel.
The situation was still precarious for non-Albanian people, he said. Progress had been made, with a tenfold reduction in crime, but there was still too much murder, violence and arson, particularly against the Serbs. There were also problems with the judicial system.
A critical point was the uncertainty about the future status of Kosovo, he said. There was a lack of clarity about the future in the Council resolution. He would welcome discussion by the Council on this, and he hoped that what was meant by substantial autonomy would be discussed and explained.
He noted that UNMIK now issued birth and marriage certificates and even licence plates for cars, and was responsible for many other administrative details. There were now insurance companies operating in Kosovo. Hospitals were still damaged and access for minorities was still not guaranteed. Five thousand children were now attending school, he added, which they had not done for years; 470 schools out of 1,000 had been rehabilitated, and universities and colleges were now operating.
In the Kosovo Transitional Council, all parties, all religions and all minorities were represented, he said. The judiciary was still very weak, with local judges not yet impartial enough. Threats were sometimes made against judges, and they were very poorly paid. Thus, international judges and prosecutors were needed. Five international judges had so far been appointed, and he hoped for 15.
Security was a major problem, he said. UNMIKs police mission was unprecedented, and it had responsibility not simply for law and order, but also for the establishment of a local police force. The Mission needed more well-trained international police and experts on investigations. By early 2001, 4,000 police would have been trained by the UNMIK police academy. Serb recruitment to this training programme and the local police force would be examined, he promised. A confidence zone in Mitrovica had been established, he said, and there was a new administrator. The situation there was calm. The situation on the border had stabilized due to efforts by Albanian leaders. Protection of non-Albanians was still a major objective, and returnees particularly needed protection. A campaign of tolerance was needed and would be launched in the next few days. It included posters, radio and television.
Additional steps must be taken to protect minorities, he acknowledged. Three hundred special forces personnel were needed to protect Serb enclaves. The number of Kosovar policemen must be increased. International prosecutors and judges must be present in the five district courts across Kosovo.
This morning, Kosovo Albanian leaders had issued a strong statement against ethnic violence, he said, and what they had said was inconceivable just a few months ago. It was only talk, but this was a necessary start.
Large numbers were returning to Kosovo, and this was their right, but it also imposed a heavy burden, he said. He wanted them to come back, but a 20 per cent increase in population would make for difficulties and challenges. Fifty per cent of those already there were unemployed. At some time, a moratorium might be necessary to ensure they could come back in an orderly and supported fashion.
He wanted Kosovo Serbs to return and was working on this, he said. A joint committee had been established, and everyone had to be examined by it. The first families would arrive later this week or next week. However, a proper ambience for their return and work for them must be provided.
Special efforts were being made to ensure security in enclaves, he said. Arrangement had been proposed to allow farmers to work in their fields, and foot patrols and small police posts had been established. Twenty-four-hour, seven-day protection was provided for places of worship, although some had still been destroyed. A joint project on roads was being undertaken, and protection was provided for bus lines. Some train stations were now working and telephone lines have been re-established.
Access to health care had improved, he said, in part through travelling clinics that went to communities. Twenty thousand housing units would be available by the end of this year.
The UNMIK was in regular contact with Belgrade, and he was willing to broaden these contacts, he said. A new joint consultative committee had recently been proposed to deal with issues of mutual interest, and letters had been exchanged.
The issue of detainees and missing persons must be addressed, he said. Some said 3000 were still missing, and others said 9000 were still missing. Nine hundred five Kosovo Albanians were still being held in Serbian prisons. People had been detained under some notion of collective guilt, but the concept appeared to be losing favour. He believed that someone would be appointed to act as a special envoy for missing persons soon.
Things were moving along on the October municipal elections, he said. The day would be set once registration was completed. By 3 June, more than 400,000 had registered. The Kosovo Serbs and those Kosovars in Serbia must be convinced to register. It was in their interest. Thus far, negative answers had been received from Belgrade in response to requests for assistance with this process, which was a pity.
A free media had helped, he said. The UNMIK had tried to help establish and maintain a free press. However, it could not allow media to issue fatwah against individuals. Thus, one outlet had been closed last week.
Mr. Kouchner also spoke about economic developments, property matters and customs and taxes.
Mr. LEVITTE (France), Council President, reporting on his meeting yesterday with the Kosovo Serb delegation, said that the Serbs had informed him of the systematic violence their community had suffered over the past few months. The delegation, led by Rada Trajkovic, had referred to the departure from Kosovo of part of the Serb population, and expressed fears that the province appeared set to be dominated by a single ethnic group.
He said that Ms. Trajkovic and her delegation had stated that the decision by some Kosovo Serbs to participate in joint administrative structures had been personally risky for them and they had had to be protected when attending meetings. However, their participation had not led to an improvement of the situation of the Serb community and, in fact, Serb enclaves had become the targets of violent attacks.
The President said that the Serb delegation wished the international community to demonstrate that it would no longer tolerate the violence and to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice. Because of the prevailing situation, it had become difficult for Serbs to justify their participation to their own community.
He said that the delegation had specifically requested the deployment of additional forces to ensure the security of the Serb enclaves, as well as the opportunity to operate their own information media and improved control of the border with Albania.
The President said he had assured the delegation that their concerns would be brought to the Councils attention.
RICHARD HOLBROOKE (United States) said it would be a terrible mistake to give the impression that because of the Serb delegations presence in the chamber, the Security Council was only considering one side. Such an impression would undermine the work of the Special Representative and of UNMIK. He had met with the delegation and stressed his understanding of Serb concerns, but he did not want to leave the impression that only one major party to the Kosovo situation was being considered in the Council.
He said he agreed with the Special Representative on all the other major points raised in his briefing as well as those highlighted in the Secretary- Generals report. In particular, the upcoming municipal elections to be held in Kosovo were historically important.
The United States Congress had recently unblocked funds intended for the Mission in Kosovo, he said. Last night, the Senate had unblocked funds for the peacekeeping missions in East Timor and in Sierra Leone.
Mr. LEVITTE (France), Council President, said it had not been the Council's intention that only one party from Kosovo be present at the meeting.
STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) said UNMIKs record of achievement had all too often been obscured by individual negative incidents. It would be wrong to minimize the present difficulties in Kosovo or the future challenges, but it would be equally wrong to forget what had gone before. The Kosovo Albanian population had faced escalating repression by the authorities in Belgrade. Thousands had been displaced and fled as refugees.
He welcomed the United Nations plans to decentralize and accelerate recruitment for UNMIKs personnel needs. The Joint Interim Administrative Structures had made important progress, in particular the establishment of the 20 departments. The best way for Kosovo´s communities to promote their future was to participate in those joint institutions.
Extremism and violence were the strongest single threat to UNMIK, whether they were inspired locally or from the outside, he said. The people of Kosovo, particularly the majority Albanian community, must take note that the international community´s goodwill would be adversely affected by acts of violence and intimidation.
SHEN GUOFANG (China) commended UNMIK and KFOR and said he supported their efforts. One year ago, on 10 June, the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had stopped and the Council authorities had dispatched the mission to restore peace in Kosovo, he said. China had abstained in the vote on resolution 1244 (1999). Events of the past year had proven that Chinas reservations were not redundant. Now was the time for reflection, and the Council should face up to the situation and seek a resolution to Kosovo's problems, or its, and the United Nations, credibility would suffer.
The mission must respect the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said, and abide by that countrys laws. Resolution 1244 (1999) established clear provisions as to the status of Kosovo, and no Security Council Member supported independence for Kosovo. Thus UNMIK's direction was clear. However, the recognition of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's sovereignty was not reflected in UNMIKs work, and some measures the mission had taken had actually impaired that sovereignty and created a false impression that Kosovo would become independent. Any such measures would work against peace in Kosovo. The UNMIK could not afford to make the slightest mistake on this policy issue.
He was also concerned about the security of Serbs in Kosovo, he said. At a briefing China had received yesterday from the delegation of Kosovo Serbs, he had been left in a state of shock and despair. The UNMIK and KFOR had made tremendous efforts, but even with the thousands of soldiers available in both missions, there were still constant attacks against Serbs. As recently as 6 June, a grenade had exploded in a Serb market. The Council should not shy away from acknowledging this failure and should reflect on it.
China opposed any form of ethnic cleansing, he said. All human rights violations, against any community, were unacceptable. In the same vein, it was irresponsible to try to use the past to explain the critical situation today. He was concerned not about the past but about how KFOR and UNMIK could turn the situation around.
China was also concerned about the large number of non-Kosovo Albanians that had entered Kosovo, thus changing its demography, he said. Kosovo had been multi- ethnic for centuries and peaceful coexistence should be respected. That a lot of people had entered Kosovo without being subject to any control was regrettable. At the same time, many Serbs were prohibited from returning. He hoped this would be addressed.
China advocated harmonious coexistence for Kosovo and common development with a multinational character, he said. It was firmly against any oppression based on race. Only within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and through substantial autonomy and good policy was a framework for such coexistence possible for Kosovo. The framework should be developed through negotiation and should be based on solutions acceptable to both sides.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that on 10 June it would be one year since the Council passed resolution 1244 (1999). That resolution was prepared with the active participation of the Russian Federation and allowed an end to aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and for a United Nations solution for the problems in Kosovo.
The fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must be respected, as must the appropriate interest of all ethnic groups in Kosovo, he said. Since the resolution was adopted, the Yugoslav authorities had implemented the demands the Council made of them, by halting acts of violence and by withdrawing the Yugoslav army and police from Kosovo. They had joined with international forces to establish a security zone at the administrative border between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia, and the Yugoslav army was working with KFOR to ensure there was not a resumption of military activity.
As for others to whom the Council gave responsibilities, the situation was bad, he said. A clear trend was visible that aimed to separate Kosovo from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which could also contribute to a dangerous destabilization of the entire Balkan region. Some actions taken by UNMIK and KFOR provoked and encouraged that trend. Especially significant was the absence of necessary cooperation with Belgrade, and even with the United Nations Security Council.
The demilitarization of the KLA was unsatisfactory when compared to that of other groups, he said. No one could explain why the title of the Kosovo Protection Corps included the word "troops" in the Albanian language, nor why it had a military structure. It was simply a reflection of the old Kosovo Liberation Army structure. He also asked why it possessed firearms and why its leadership was allowed to determine who received those weapons. The Kosovo Protection Corps seemed to be merely a legalization of some units of the former KLA.
The leadership of UNMIK and KFOR stated that when people were recruited to this Corps they were carefully selected, and criminals were not admitted, he said. However, according to a curriculum vitae prepared by KFOR which he would distribute, one man who was among the Corps' first members could kill just because he did not like someone, and was known as an organizer of armed provocation and murder. The UNMIK and KFOR should immediately list all people admitted to the Corps, because if such people were in charge of it, it would be impossible to curb attempts by former KLA members to take control of regions under cover of the Corps.
The UNMIK had disturbing information on the current situation, he said. It was unacceptable that there were still attacks taking place on the Russian contingent of KFOR carried out by former members of the Corps. The UNMIK and KFOR leadership had responded to these attacks, but he would have expected the harshest measures to be used in response, to curb the behaviour of extremists and force the acceptance of an international presence pursuant to resolution 1244 (1999). The Russian contingent had been attacked nine times at night in recent days, including by machine gun and antitank weapons. He asked how anyone could speak of the demilitarization of the KLA given those attacks, and what success had really been made in removing their weapons?
It was said that former KLA fighters, including those in the Protection Corps, were acting with thorough advance notice in coordinating acts of terrorism, he said. The KFOR was increasingly finding illegal stores of weapons, some of which were only established very recently. There was no halt to the provocation which threatened the possibility of tension spilling over into southern Serbia.
The KFOR regularly saw activity by Albanian fighters in the security zone, he said. There had been shooting, mines had exploded and armed groups had been seen. The KFOR should take strong measures to ensure law and order along the administrative border. Unfortunately, Albanian extremists felt they had impunity in Kosovo. They had recently even started supporting international terrorism, and were challenging the security of many countries, including two participants in the search for a settlement of the Kosovo problem.
Minorities were still being attacked, he said, and they did not have freedom of movement. Since the Council mission to Kosovo there had been an upsurge in anti- Serb terrorism, which seemed both planned and provocative. The Kosovo Serb delegation in the Council chambers today had said that the situation of Serbs in Kosovo had become intolerable.
He noted the recent statement made by leaders of the Kosovo Albanians, he said, but words must be followed by deeds. It was time to acknowledge that injustice could not be combated by invoking and using another injustice. The KFOR and UNMIK had a clear Council mandate, and they could radically improve the situation in Kosovo.
In the statement adopted on 24 May after the recent meeting between the Russian Federation and NATO, emphasis was placed on participants' determination to cooperate closely to implement resolution 1244 (1999). It also said that the Russian Federation and NATO would not tolerate any provocation to undermine the peace process in Kosovo.
At present it was not possible for the 300,000 non-Albanians displaced to return to Kosovo, despite the resolution's instruction, he said.
That UNMIK had shown no respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he said, was well known to all. Recent examples included a plan to privatize Yugoslavian State property referred to in a recently published book. There had been no consultation with Belgrade before the issuance of that publication. Unilateral experiments with property could be explosive.
The agreed contingent of Yugoslav police and troops to Kosovo had not been implemented, he said. Resolution 1244 (1999) clearly stated that during the transition, UNMIK must administer the region in a manner which ensured inhabitants enjoyed substantial autonomy in this part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The achievement of that was impossible without interaction with the Yugoslavian authorities. Talks with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were urgently needed, but he only heard about some idea of a kind of contract of agreement between UNMIK and the Kosovo inhabitants. Any such agreement established without Belgrade's involvement and consent would be a violation of resolution 1244, and thus would have no legal force.
The UNMIK must not prejudge the future of the region, but that might happen if the parameters of its future status were not determined before the impending municipal elections, he said. Without Serb and other minority participation, the elections could not be legitimate. The head of UNMIK had responsibility for the election. Extremists seeking an ethnically clean independent Kosovo should not be allowed to participate. Attempts to isolate Kosovo from Belgrade were dangerous to Kosovo, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Balkan area.
The Council was again unable to hear the representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at a meeting devoted to his country, he noted. Official representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must be included in Council meetings on Kosovo.
In all the talk of detainees and missing people, it should not be forgotten that hundred of Serbs were also missing and that their fate must also be investigated, he said. Belgrade had not refused to cooperate in discussions of missing people and detainees. The matter had been dealt with in a recent trip to Yugoslavia by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a United Nations rapporteur. They were allowed access to whomever they asked to meet, and had discussed continuing contact. The UNMIK must support the work already being done by the ICRC and more actively establish contacts with Belgrade.
The idea of establishing another post to examine the plight of missing persons looked a little artificial, and could only lead to the politicization of this fundamentally humanitarian issue, he said. Attempts were already being made to politicize the Kosovo situation through the use of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
Amnesty International had recently cited norms of international law in condemning the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Earlier, Human Rights Watch had made similar condemnations. A Geneva Convention protocol stated that States must refrain from undertaking attacks that might cause collateral loss of civilian lives, the wounding of civilians or damage to civilian infrastructure. If in doubt, international law said structures must be assumed to be civilian. Those provisions were flagrantly and grossly violated in the NATO bombing of the television station, of a train and of bridges, for example. The facts were well known, yet the International Tribunal prosecutor said no violation of international law had occurred.
Unless all the problems were approached as a whole and resolved, UNMIK and KFOR would not be able to change the unfortunate situation in Kosovo, he concluded. The Russian Federation supported the mandated activities of the mission, but the mission must ensure it took action on the complete implementation of resolution 1244.
ARNOLDO LISTRE (Argentina) described the first-year anniversary of UNMIK as an opportunity to draw up a balance sheet of goals achieved and goals still pending. A year ago, the Council had been preoccupied with ensuring shelter for Kosovo Albanian refugees facing an approaching winter, and with the demilitarization of the KLA. Following the Mission's deployment, the first refugees had returned home and basic services had been restarted. The KLA had formally been demilitarized and the long and thorny process of transforming its members into useful members of society had been achieved.
He said that for the residents of Kosovo today there was only a precarious existence obtained, or perhaps imposed, by the presence of UNMIK and KFOR. By adopting resolution 1244 (1999) last year, the Council had not agreed to campaigns of violence and intimidation or to a monoethnic Kosovo. The international community could continue helping to rebuild institutions as well as providing judges, prosecutors and police officers, but it could not create the goodwill necessary for tolerance and peaceful coexistence. It could not accept senseless acts committed by extremists.
The future of Kosovo was a shared endeavour for which everybody was responsible, not just UNMIK and KFOR, he said. The municipality was the basis of democracy and the strengthening of municipal structures would lead to stability in Kosovo. As Argentina had stated in the past, the issue of missing persons and those detained in Serbian prisons must be pursued in order to achieve progress in the search for a solution to the Kosovo problem.
AGAM HASMY (Malaysia), agreeing with the United States delegate's view that the Security Council must be seen to be impartial, said UNMIK had had several successes, particularly in the humanitarian field. Its efforts in convincing the population to participate in stable administrative structures had had positive results. Kosovo Serbs were urged to take part in the registration for the forthcoming municipal elections.
He said that the security situation continued to be fragile, presenting KFOR and the international community with great challenges. Additional measures were necessary to contain interethnic violence and to promote peaceful coexistence. Supporting the proposed nomination of a Special Envoy for detainees and missing persons, he said the resolution of intercommunal tensions was linked to that issue. That question must not be exploited for political purposes.
F.A. SHAMMIM AHMED (Bangladesh) thanked the Special Representative, on behalf of his countrys ambassador and permanent representative, Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, for the support UNMIK had given to the recent Council mission to Kosovo.
Everyone was aware of the complexity of Kosovo's problems and of the way UNMIK had responded, he said. He commended the Special Representative. He was also aware of the resource limitations, and was concerned that the requisite civilian police and administrative staff were not yet available.
The resolution to important issues like the return of refugees and internally displaced people hedged on the establishment of a secure environment for all, he said. The agony of families of missing people and detainees was also a concern. Tension bread mistrust, he said, and the security situation would not improve unless that problem was addressed. He supported the appointment of a special envoy to address that problem, particularly given its magnitude and urgency. Such an appointment would not politicize the issue, but would be a step towards settling a problem for which no remedy had yet been found.
For Kosovo to return to normalcy, a significant boost in economic activity was needed, he said. Spurring the economy was necessary for reconstruction and development but also to restore hope to the people and to encourage them to look to the future rather than dwell on the past.
The recent Security Council mission sensed a desire among all Kosovo communities to live in peace, he said. The Serb National Council's decision to work with UNMIK was welcome. That said, he noted the Serbian Bishop's insistence on the need for better security and hoped the international community would redouble its efforts.
The notable progress already made by the people of Kosovo and UNMIK showed that the task was not impossible, he said. Bangladesh extended strong support for the reconstruction and reconciliation of Kosovo that was already under way.
SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) said that when the Special Representative had last visited the Council, he had focused on strategic objectives, time constraints and the elements of success. Three months later, and following the Security Council's mission to Kosovo, the Council was in a better position to evaluate progress without losing sight of the fragility of the situation.
The Secretary-General's report was enlightening, he said. There were clearly problems in the political sphere, in the search for pluralism and in Serb participation.
The demilitarization of the KLA and the Serbian respect for its commitments testified to the will of all for peace, he said. There were other encouraging signs and he hoped they would lead to lasting improvement in social conditions.
The elections were a critical stage and their transparency was important, he said. The growing participation of all communities in the administration of the province was vital to long-term stability.
However, the positive elements must not conceal the sad daily lives of Kosovo people, or the fragility of the situation, he said. Threats could undermine peace. He deplored the tension, and supported UNMIK and KFOR efforts to address it. The United Nations mission should be provided with appropriate financial and human resources.
The return of refugees and displaced persons remained central to peace in Kosovo, he said. In addition, families would not forgive or forget unless the issue of missing people was resolved, so Tunisia supported the appointment of a special envoy on missing persons.
The UNMIK must insist on the need for a culture of peace, tolerance and coexistence, he said. He paid tribute to UNMIK and its personnel, and gave special mention to the parties that had chosen to cooperate with the mission.
PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherlands) disassociated himself from statements by delegates who always spoke negatively about the Belgrade authorities, as well as those who could not bring themselves to praise UNMIK's efforts. He also questioned the representative of the Russian Federations suggestion that Belgrade had been cooperating with queries about detainees in Serbian prisons. Those detainees did not need cooperation -- they needed to be released.
He said his country condemned all violence in Kosovo, whether it was against Serbs, Albanians or anybody else, including KFOR and non-governmental organizations. The Secretary-General's report rightly highlighted the courageous decision of the Gracanica Serbs to join the Joint Administrative Council. Regrettably, that decision had been reversed due to security concerns which must be considered. The Netherlands called on the Serbs to rejoin the Council, this time as participants rather than as observers.
Renewed Serb participation in interim structures should be fostered by promoting the return of Kosovo Serb refugees, he continued. The international community should focus on reconstruction and the upcoming municipal elections. The question of Kosovo's future status should be considered at a later date.
PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said that understanding and tolerance remained scarce in Kosovo and reconciliation was far from a reality. Leaders and ordinary people must make a concerted effort to end intolerance and extremism. Not only had security deteriorated in recent weeks, but increasingly vicious attacks on Kosovo Serbs appeared to be an orchestrated campaign. Steps taken by UNMIK to entrench the rule of law must be supported, as there had been a dramatic decline in crime.
Tackling the issue of missing persons was a fundamental matter for the achievement of stability in Kosovo, she said. Voter and civil registration activities were important for the forthcoming municipal elections and for establishing a democratic process in the province. While the overall economic picture had improved, economic recovery would depend on attracting broad-based donor support and investment.
VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) noted that, although the adoption of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) had not brought about a final solution to the Kosovo problem, it had laid down the framework for finding that solution by launching a unique and unprecedented peace operation. At the same time, while recognizing the undeniable progress achieved by UNMIK and KFOR in tackling the challenges of Kosovo, a number of setbacks should be openly admitted.
He said that the prevailing atmosphere of ethnically related violence and crime, daily intimidation, assaults and threats against non-Albanians, especially Kosovo Serbs, jeopardized all efforts by the international community. Proper security for national minorities and effective protection of their basic human rights were prerequisites for further progress in the long-term process of settling the Kosovo problem.
Ukraine was deeply alarmed over the recent upsurge of violence against Kosovo Serbs, he said. Orchestrated attacks had had an unsettling effect on the confidence of Kosovo Serbs, vividly demonstrated by the decision of the Serb National Council of Gracanica to absent itself from meetings of interim administrative bodies for one week and to send a delegation to the Security Council.
Regarding the autonomy and self-administration of Kosovo, he said that, as long as the Security Council shied away from settling that core issue, there was always the threat that the efforts of UNMIK and KFOR would be counter-productive. Without addressing that issue directly, UNMIK and KFOR would be like a fire brigade fighting a forest fire during a drought. In addition, groundless illusions would be created both in Kosovo and in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
He said that another unfulfilled aspect of resolution 1244 (1999) was the promotion of a political process designed to determine Kosovos future status. However unrealistic that idea may seem today, an agreement must be reached between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanians through direct or proximity talks under an international aegis.
MICHEL DUVAL (Canada) reaffirmed Canada's strong commitment to the full implementation of resolution 1244 (1999). Important progress had been made in the first phase by UNMIK and KFOR. Their staff deserved the Council's gratitude and support. He welcomed the Secretary-General's decision to authorize UNMIK to directly recruit the civilian experts it needed. That was a wise decision, and would mean recruitment would be more effective and quicker.
Canada encouraged Special Representative Kouchner to maintain relations with all ethnicities, he said. It recognized that conditions had not yet been established to allow all to live safe lives in the territory.
He strongly condemned the recent spate of violence against Serbs, he said. Visible and strong efforts must continue to put a halt to revenge and to bring all guilty parties to justice.
The full support of the Council was needed to improve human security in Kosovo, he said. Leaders must take responsibility for promoting respect, and UNMIK must respond to those that did not. The mission must also address issues that hindered reconciliation.
Canada was pleased to hear a Council member speak of the importance of international law, he said, and agreed that the Geneva Conventions must be respected. The recent murder of an UNMIK staff member reminded him of the need to regulate media. Freedom could not extend to irresponsible journalism, he said, and he was pleased that UNMIK was working on that. He suggested that a close watch be kept up on media in the lead-up to municipal elections.
He expressed Canada's hope that the Serb National Council would return to participation in the administrative councils. There were shared goals across the communities and all must find the means to work together. He warmly welcomed the presence of Kosovo Serb leaders in the Council chamber today.
Kosovo must be a place for all ethnicities, he said. Cultural, religious and ethnic identities must be respected and preserved. The return of those displaced must be encouraged, in a safe, orderly and sustainable fashion.
All ethnic communities must be represented at all levels of the administration, he stressed, and he encouraged UNMIK to concentrate on the development of a self-governing administration. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia would have to play a part in reaching a final settlement for Kosovo, he added. Belgrade had an important role to play, notably in encouraging electoral registration of internally displaced. The current Yugoslav regime showed a lack of goodwill, particularly evident in statements demanding an end to UNMIK.
A future democratic Belgrade regime would need to reach out to Kosovars, he said. Belgrade's current refusal to cooperate in good faith remained a serious impediment to the implementation of resolution 1244.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said his country appreciated that UNMIK had begun to consolidate the central and municipal administration throughout the province with renewed political life reflecting the diversity of Kosovos people. He noted also the progress achieved in the establishment of the 20 departments of the Joint Interim Administrative Structures and other municipal bodies consisting of local representatives.
However, he underscored the limited participation of local representatives. Namibia concurred with the Special Representative, and as noted in the Secretary- Generals report, that increasing intimidation and unmitigated violence by the Albanian majority, aimed at driving minority communities out of Kosovo, was totally unacceptable.
All Kosovars should have the opportunity to participate in social, economic, political and social activities free of intimidation and violence, he said. Equally, the return with dignity of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes was of paramount importance. The situation in Kosovo was very complex. Therefore, Namibia acknowledged the multi-pronged approach of UNMIK and KFOR, not only in bringing administrative stability to the province, but also in creating the enabling environment to promote peaceful coexistence, tolerance and economic development, the nature of which rested on long-term planning.
Mr. LEVITTE (France), Council President, speaking in his national capacity, said that when resolution 1244 (1999) was adopted, Kosovo was devastated. But in the resolution, hundreds of thousands of people saw the possibility of their return to their homes. The infrastructure was unusable, and hatred was only looking for an excuse to return. It was under those circumstances that the United Nations, one year ago, had been given the difficult responsibility of administering the territory. An understanding of what it was like 12 months ago should enable consideration of how much had been done since. Refugees had mostly returned home, and life had resumed. The simplest things in the daily life of the people of Kosovo were victories by UNMIK over the past.
Of course there were still problems, he said, and he had commented earlier on the recent attacks on Kosovo Serbs, which were totally unacceptable. The community leaders must shoulder their responsibilities and do everything to see those acts were not repeated. He welcomed the statements made by Albanian leaders today. Violence and terror must not be allowed to prevail.
Thanks to Special Representative Kouchner and his team, he said, joint administrative structures had been established, and the Kosovo Serb leaders had agreed to participate in the Interim Administrative Council and the Kosovo
Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6873 4153rd Meeting (AM) 9 June 2000
Transitional Council as observers. Everything should be done to restore that dialogue.
Therefore, France supported UNMIK and KFOR efforts to restore security to all, he said. Efforts for the effective protection of minorities should continue and concrete solutions should be found to allow them access to services, in addition to encouraging economic activity and supporting education and training. He noted that much work had already been done on an agenda for coexistence.
The UNMIK needed the support of the Council and its gratitude, he said. It should not be judged on incidents of violence. Reconciliation was not something one could decree. For reconciliation to be lasting, the circumstances of the missing and those detained needed an appropriate response. France approved of the appointment of an envoy to deal with missing persons, although that person must, of course, coordinate with the ICRC. The persons mandate should include the missing and detained from all ethnic communities.
The UNMIK must create the material and administrative conditions needed to make future coexistence possible, he said. Previous speakers had stressed UNMIKs accomplishments. Basic services had been restored. Houses had been rebuilt and the KLA combatants demilitarized and rehabilitated. The different communities were now involved in joint structures.
However there was still work to be done, he acknowledged. Great precision and care was needed in the running of the municipal elections. Serbs must be encouraged to participate. By preventing their participation, Slobodan Milosevic was preventing them from taking charge of their lives, and thus he could not be a true defender of their interests.
A true return to a state of the rule of law required many elements, he said, including a police force, judges and prisons, all of which contributed to combating impunity.
Discussions must be held on the contents of autonomy at the appropriate time and within the appropriate framework, he said. The UNMIK's first anniversary was important, but the Council should not forget that time was needed to carry out its tasks, as well as adequate resources and staffing. He agreed with the support for direct recruitment to UNMIK from Canada's representative. France fully supported UNMIK in the difficult task it faced.
Mr. Kouchner then responded to the points raised by Member States. He thanked those that had praised UNMIK efforts. The task with which it was charged was clearly possible. Not enough progress had yet been made, but changes to human behaviour could not be brought about simply through decisions or actions by the Security Council or by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General.
Persistence was important, he said. He asked Member States not to abandon the mission because there had been no major crises. The absence of major crises was the very reason why Council support must continue.
The Serb National Council had come to New York because it had legitimate claims to present, he explained. He asked the Kosovo Serbian leaders to continue to work for participation in the shared Kosovo endeavour. He proposed bringing all the parties in the interim administration to New York in the near future to illustrate the achievements that had thus far been made in Kosovo.
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