SECURITY COUNCIL TAKES UP SITUATION IN KOSOVO; HEARS BRIEFING BY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF SECRETARY-GENERAL

27 September 2000
SC/6926

SECURITY COUNCIL TAKES UP SITUATION IN KOSOVO; HEARS BRIEFING BY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF SECRETARY-GENERAL

27 September 2000

Press ReleaseSC/6926

SECURITY COUNCIL TAKES UP SITUATION IN KOSOVO; HEARS BRIEFING BY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF SECRETARY-GENERAL

20000927

As the Security Council met this afternoon to take up the situation in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the province, said that 13 centuries of confrontation between the various ethnic communities had elapsed -- how could one expect to stop the violence in 15 months?

Mr. Kouchner, who is also the head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), briefed the Council at the outset of the meeting, then responded to members’ questions and comments.

He said he shared the impatience expressed by the members of the Council. His team was not indifferent to violence and devoted much of their energy to reducing it. He pointed out that such violence, however, was not unique to Kosovo. The Mission tried to innovate and make their intervention more effective. While they could request the international Kosovo Force (KFOR) to intervene in cases of violence, that was not its job. The conditions necessary for peace must be created.

Many speakers expressed support for the work of the Special Representative and the Mission. The representative of the United States said Mr. Kouchner had his Government’s full support. The people of Kosovo should wage an election campaign free of intimidation next month. That election would be a watershed event and one that would allow Kosavars to choose their own destiny.

The representative of the Russian Federation, however, said the time had now come for serious discussion of Kosovo and the Mission instead of a showering of accolades. He said Council resolution 1244 (1999) was being partially and unsatisfactorily implemented. The leadership of UNMIK and KFOR were acting in contravention of the resolution. While Mr. Kouchner had great powers, they were not unlimited and he had to act within framework of his mandate.

The representative of the Ukraine said ethnically motivated violence in the province was not decreasing. Since ensuring a secure environment, public safety and order was one of the major responsibilities of the international presence in Kosovo, it was, therefore, the yardstick by which the success of UNMIK and KFOR activities would be judged. Against that background, the activities of both entities were not fully satisfactory and should be intensified.

The representatives of Bangladesh, France, United Kingdom, China, Argentina, Netherlands, Canada, Tunisia, Malaysia, Jamaica and Namibia also made statements.

The Council’s President, Moctar Ouane (Mali), made a statement in his national capacity.

The meeting, which began at 3:31 p.m., was adjourned at 6:19 p.m.

Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6926 4200th Meeting (PM) 27 September 2000

Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in Kosovo.

Statements

BERNARD KOUCHNER, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), told the Council that in the 15 months since the arrival of UNMIK and the international Kosovo Force (KFOR), the Mission had managed to include political representatives from all communities in its work. The Joint Interim Administrative Structures had been created. The Kosovo Transitional Council had 36 members from all communities and all parts of society debating critical issues. In the Interim Administrative Council, the pillar heads of UNMIK worked together with leading Kosovo Albanian and Serb representatives. Every UNMIK regulation was discussed before a final decision was taken. The 20 joint UNMIK-Kosovo Administrative Departments were all up and running with about 60,000 Kosovars from all communities on their payroll, he added.

He said other achievements included the return of close to 1 million refugees, the establishment of a functioning civil administration in all areas of public life, the development of a media sector and a broad-based democratization- building effort, the establishment of a foundation for a functioning market economy, and the demilitarization of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the beginning of a genuine Kosovo police. Currently, there were about 2,000 Kosovo police.

He said other successes included taking over the Zvecan smelter to address an immediate public health emergency and laying the foundations for administering Kosovo's assets, creating a multi-ethnic workforce and ensuring security on the day of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia elections. Serb workers had begun to work at the smelter again. He added that all the different international actors had worked closely together, but he sometimes wished that cooperation was stronger and more united.

There were not just achievements and successes, he pointed out. A key mistake had been attempting to implement unrealistic policy programmes -- trying to develop a pure market economy, but neglecting basic needs such as shelter, housing, utilities and social employment; insisting on multi-ethnic schools, thus, preventing minority children from receiving any schooling; trying to build a local judiciary while failing to bring in international judges and prosecutors; and trying to work for auto-regulatory regimes while strong decisions were unavoidable.

Continuing, he said the biggest problem was the situation of the non- Albanian communities -– the Serbs and the Roma -- who were under great personal security risks. The UNMIK was trying to counter with a multitude of initiatives, such as the Agenda for Coexistence which included special assistance programmes for the Serbs and the establishment of local community offices. Those offices worked to increase the access to services and provide protection for minorities. Another key problem was the fate of missing persons and detainees. Little would be achieved for missing and imprisoned Kosovo Albanians if the international community did not press Belgrade to change its uncompromising stance.

He went on to say that preparations for the 28 October municipal elections had been under way for 14 months. In the area of technical preparation, the civil administration and institution-building pillars of UNMIK had conducted a full- fledged voter registration process. Although the process was complicated by the paucity of original data and Belgrade's lack of cooperation, a complete and accurate final voters list would be ready for the elections. Around 1 million people had applied to register to vote. The candidate's registration process had attracted over 5,000 candidates from 19 parties, two coalitions, three citizen initiatives and 15 individual candidates.

He said the electoral campaign, which began on 13 September, had been going well with no major incidents. Despite an upsurge of political violence in August, police and KFOR had set in motion a mechanism to offer special protection measures for a wide range of candidates. Political violence had decreased substantially. Violence, however, remained a difficult issue every day in Kosovo, and one must remain cautious and react quickly to any problems.

Referring to the non-participation of the Kosovo Serb minority in the municipal elections, he said he respected their argument, but thought it a wrong decision. The elections would be the first of many. The KFOR and UNMIK Police worked daily to improve the security situation of all minority members. A joint committee to facilitate the return of displaced Serbs to their homes had been set up.

After the municipal elections, he said, the results would have to be implemented. They must reflect reality. It would not be easy. The democratic tradition had not existed for some years, but the Kosovars were in favour of establishing a true democracy. The voters and the candidates wanted only one ballot. The ambiguities in Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) remained, and its reason for being, self-government and autonomy must be explained. He had proposed to the Kosovars a pact that the municipal elections be counter-posed with discussions of autonomy. The Kosovars could find the best way to take greater responsibilities.

He called upon the Kosovars to reduce ethnic violence. The Serbs had to be able to travel freely. All communities must benefit from the same rights.

In the end, he said, trust must be placed in the Kosovars. They must be given responsibility. Otherwise, there were signs that showed that the desired end might not be achieved.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE (United States) said Mr. Kouchner had his Government’s full support. The people of Kosovo should wage an election campaign free of intimidation next month. That election would be a watershed event and one that would allow Kosavars to choose their own destiny. Turning to the elections in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he said that country was in the middle of a period of immense historical importance. The Yugoslav people had voted resoundingly for a democratic future. Yet, while they had voted for freedom, someone was trying to take it away from them.

The Milosevic regime had tried to rig the election and distort the results, he said. The same regime had even tried to manipulate the vote in Kosovo as had been done before. In that regard, he commended UNMIK and Mr. Kouchner for the work done last Sunday to prevent an outcome in the province that would have been false.

He said while the Yugoslav vote appeared to be a landslide victory for change and democracy –- the call for a second round by the governing regime was a clear demonstration of efforts to defeat the express will of the Yugoslav people. Clear factors indicated that the opposition was on the way to a resounding victory. That opposition was, therefore, correct when it said there was no need for a second round. The Council should have no illusions about what was taking place in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. President Milosovec’s time was running out. The brave voters of Serbia had made it clear that they wished to end their country’s isolation and form a government that was not feared by its people.

He said when a democratically chosen government was installed in Belgrade, it would not agree with everything from the outside and neither would the outside agree with every position taken by that government. But that was the nature of free exchange among free nations. The United States would be prepared to lift existing sanctions once a democratic government was established in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and would welcome its membership in the United Nations.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said the municipal elections would be the first major step towards the development of democracy in Kosovo. The timely completion of the civil registration process, particularly of the ethnic Albanian community, was also another big step forward. It was regrettable, however, that the vast majority of the Province’s Serbs and some other minority communities could not participate in the process due to intimidation by hard-line elements. He emphasized the importance of full participation by all in the local administration in order to restore peace.

He said there was a likelihood that the sporadic politically motivated violence that had taken place in recent months would increase in the pre-election period. Major efforts should be made to curb the probability of any such incidents, which might disrupt the electoral process. The leaders in Kosovo must do their best to end the cycle of civil violence and unrest that was taking place in different parts of the Province, including Mitrovica. He called on all Kosovars to unite against those who disrupted the peace and threatened the establishment of a safe, democratic and multi-ethnic future in the Province.

He said the judiciary in Kosovo had been dysfunctional for some time. The recent reinforcement of that system, however, had resulted in greater levels of activity for dispensing justice. That, accompanied by an improved penal system, would contribute greatly towards the establishment of the rule of law. The problem of missing persons and detainees was still a major source of tension between the different ethnic communities. Continuation of that situation was counter-productive to attempts to build inter-ethnic harmony. He hoped the new Special Envoy on the Persons Deprived of Liberty, including Prisoners, Detainees and Missing Persons, Herik Amneus, would make a substantial contribution in resolving the fate of nearly 3,500 persons who were still either missing or detained.

JEAN DAVID-LEVITTE (France) said the report presented by Mr. Kouchner spelled out the scope of the task that was before UNMIK. The work of UNMIK, which had to be methodical and detailed, had provided excellent results. He paid warm tribute to the Special Representative and his team.

Thanks to the United Nations efforts, the wall of mistrust among Kosovars was beginning to show some cracks, he said. The return of mixed administrative structures was testimony to that. The Pact for a Civil Society was also promising. Patience was beginning to be recompensed. The humanitarian pillars had been successful, and the European Union had played an essential role.

He underscored the special importance of the municipal elections, which would be a landmark with the passage of Kosovo towards a genuine autonomy. All efforts had been made to ensure a genuine democratic debate, sheltered from the provocations of the enemies of democracy. In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Serbian people had pronounced itself in favour of a democratic change. The Kosovo electorate had to make an equally clear choice, rejecting hate and the infringement of liberty.

Sergey Lavrov (Russian Federation) said Council resolution 1244 (1999) was being partially and unsatisfactorily implemented. The leadership of UNMIK and KFOR were also acting in contravention of the resolution. While Mr. Kouchner had great powers, they were not unlimited and he had to act within framework of his mandate. In an interview with the Financial Times on 16 September, for example, he had preached his own views and even called for independence for the Province. He had even talked about the ambiguities of resolution 1244 (1999), even though that resolution had been formulated carefully and specifically.

Another flagrant violation of resolution 1244 (1999) was in the area of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he said. The Russian Ambassador to that country had been detained on the administrative border of Kosovo by KFOR personnel, who also attempted to search him. Similar acts had also taken place with diplomats from Spain, Japan and other countries. Such actions could be viewed as attempts to impede the work of diplomatic representatives accredited to the Federal Republic.

There was also a deliberate attempt to tear Kosovo away from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he said. The KFOR and UNMIK had recognized that there were security threats to non-Albanian populations. Indicative of that fact was the recent decision of a Belgian group, called Doctors without Borders, to cease their activities in protest at UNMIK and KFOR failure to halt violence against minorities and the practice of ethnic cleansing. On top of all of that, non- Albanians continued to leave the area.

He said there was the continued threat that the inter-ethnic conflict could spread to communities in the south of Serbia. Everything must be done to prevent the emergence of a new threat to peace and security. It was also high time for the return to the Province of the agreed number of Yugoslav military personnel -– specifically the presence of a limited number of Yugoslav border guards. The destruction of the economy in the region only strengthened the drive to separate Kosovo. Also for the municipal elections to be an important step, they must have a democratic character. In practice, what reigned in Kosovo was violence. Even Albanians were being terrorized and blackmailed by the former KLA, he added.

He said there were also distortions of the voting information. Independent experts should review the results of the registration. The election envisaged in October could not be democratic, free and fair. It would instead strengthen the Albanians and the proponents of a mono-ethnic Kosovo. The time had now come for serious discussion of Kosovo and the Mission instead of a showering of accolades, otherwise a new wave of violence would begin. Many sought to speak only of the evils of Belgrade, but not of the breaches of resolution 1244 (1999), he said.

Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was still holding British citizens without charges and without respect to consular agreements. He called for their immediate release.

He was encouraged by the preparations for the 28 October municipal elections to return the government to the people of Kosovo. He noted that the Kosovo Serbs had voted in peace in the 24 September elections and regretted that they would not be voting in the municipal elections. Although they were reluctant to vote, it was right that they be represented. He agreed with the decision to appoint representatives of their community.

He joined the condemnation of violence in Kosovo and said that most of Kosovo's leaders had spoken out against violence. Thuggery by a vocal minority should not be allowed to decide the Province’s future. Regarding the incident cited by the Russian ambassador, he said the troops had been doing their duty and no disrespect had been intended.

He went on to say that the United Kingdom would be willing to contribute to establishing the judicial system in Kosovo, but had been told that United Kingdom judges were not required. The UNMIK would be required for some time to come, and the United Kingdom would remain supportive of their efforts.

SHEN GUOFANG (China) said UNMIK had worked in difficult circumstances and he supported its efforts. The security situation was far from non-violent, and there remained cause for great concern. He supported the role of UNMIK in its effort to promote tolerance and reconciliation in the attempt to see that all the residents lived in a situation free of violence and harassment.

The numbers and pace of the return of Kosovar minorities was not acceptable, he said. He was sceptical as to whether the elections could be conducted in a climate of peace. If the violence was allowed to continue, the policy of ethnic cleansing would be legitimized. If the elections were held in today’s circumstances, the results could not be perceived as fair and equitable. The UNMIK must establish law and order to help remove the fear of the minorities.

He said no member of the Council recognized Kosovo as an independent State and actions to steer the Province in that direction were illegal. He hoped UNMIK would strictly adhere to the provisions stipulated by the Council.

ENRIQUE CAPPAGLI (Argentina) said the report attested to the magnitude of the task of UNMIK. He expressed his Government’s support for the Special Representative and the Mission. He also supported the electoral process that was to take place on 28 October and stressed the importance of meeting the deadline. He was concerned that the majority of Serbs had not registered, but he still supported the process. He hoped that, in future elections, they would feel secure enough to participate.

He expressed support for the Pact for a civil society which would make it possible for there to be real autonomy. He also expressed concern about the continued violence -- that concern was directed towards all the communities of Kosovo. If it continued, there would be a paralysis to the economic and social institutions.

He went on to say that the status of Kosovo could not be decided in isolation, and regional factors should not be ignored. A democratic government enjoying full support would be a valid interlocutor for the final status of Kosovo, and he wanted the results to be respected.

ALPHONS HAMER (Netherlands) said he was in full agreement with the Special Representative and shared his views on the importance of the municipal elections. Awaiting the final results of the election in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which pointed to a clear a victory for the opposition, he hoped Milosevic would respect the will of the majority.

Regarding the four Dutch nationals still being held with Canadian and British citizens, he said they remained in solitary confinement. They were not allowed to be examined by an independent physician and had limited consular contact. He called for their immediate release.

Mr. HEINBECKER (Canada) said the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had spoken and voted for change. He, therefore, called on the current regime in Belgrade to recognize that the situation had changed and that the time for playing games was over. He hoped that the leader of the opposition would defend his victory by peaceful and democratic means and bring his country back into the community of democratic nations. For its part, once it felt that there was a government in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia committed to reform and democracy, Canada would welcome that country back to the family of nations.

Turning to Kosovo, he said that Mr. Kouchner had referred to the Province as a low-conflict, rather than no-conflict, situation. Yet, it was still appalling that any minority group should be the target of violence. That was unacceptable.

He said his country was concerned with increased intra-Albanian criminality in the context of the upcoming municipal vote. The international community should support UNMIK’s efforts to prevent violence and intimidation from being a factor in the elections. The Mission’s Print Code of Conduct was, therefore, indispensable. Also, independent, regulatory media outlets were strongly needed in Kosovo. He hoped that the implementation of that Code would contribute to qualitatively enhancing the media industry in the Province and also contribute to the fostering of a democratic political culture for the elections.

Addressing the election in the Federal Republic, he said UNMIK had done an excellent job of minimizing the amount of potential fraud through the “witness plan”. He commended Mr. Kouchner for the success of that effort. He joined earlier speakers in calling upon the Federal Republic’s Government to release the international detainees, among them, two Canadians. Their innocence was perfectly clear and their detention unjust.

SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) said Kosovo was going through a crucial phase in its history. He welcomed the initiative to reconcile the communities and encourage political dialogue between the various parties. There was hope that hatred and violence would one day disappear. The right of return of all refugees was also critical. The Pact proposed by the Secretary-General would contribute to protecting the rights of the various ethnic communities. All the initiatives that were being taken, however, could not replace the active participation of the parties to the conflict -- they were duty bound to promote tolerance and to ensure that the voice of reason was heard.

He said the completion of phase I of the registration process was a source of satisfaction for his delegation. He encouraged all the communities to take part. The stringent application of the Print Code of Conduct was necessary, however, to avoid violence that could impede the upcoming election. Recent developments in Kosovo’s judiciary would help build confidence in the minority communities and also help combat the impunity that had reigned in the past. He welcomed the initiative to set up a task force to combat ethnic violence. The situation in Kosovo was complex, but not impossible, and progress had been achieved since the arrival of UNMIK in the Province.

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said his Government supported the Special Representative’s leadership and his efforts in the implementation of resolution 1244 (1999). He encouraged him to press ahead, but noted that success depended on the continued strong support of the international community and the support, commitment and cooperation of all leaders and people of Kosovo.

He also supported Mr. Kouchner’s decisions and actions with regard to the conduct of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s elections in Kosovo on 24 September and expressed relief that there had been no major incidents. He hoped the outcome would have a positive impact on the overall situation in Kosovo.

He welcomed the successful conduct of the civil registration process and looked forward to the elections, whose success could only be guaranteed with the active support of the international community and Kosovar political forces. The precarious security situation in Kosovo, however, was unacceptable. The recurrence of ethnically motivated violence and the apparent increase in politically motivated violence and acts of harassment overshadowed the progress made in the implementation of resolution 1244 (1999). The actions of irresponsible elements out to sabotage the process should not be tolerated. He supported the efforts of UNMIK and KFOR to tackle the security problem. Ultimately, however, success would depend on the strong commitment, political will and cooperation of all leaders of Kosovo's different ethnic communities

He added that the issues of missing persons and the continued detention of Kosovar Albanians in Serbian jails remained a major concern that required an early solution.

VOLODYMYR YEL'CHENKO (Ukraine) said the dire security situation in Kosovo with regard to the protection of minorities continued to cause his country concern. Ethnically motivated violence was not decreasing. Since ensuring a secure environment, public safety and order was one of the major responsibilities of the international presence in the Province; it was, therefore, the yardstick by which the success of UNMIK and KFOR activities would be judged. Against that background, the activities of both entities were not fully satisfactory and should be intensified. His country supported all initiatives of the international presence to that end, and in particular, the decision of UNMIK's police to develop a specially security task force to combat ethnically targeted violence.

He said that given the rise in political violence, the Mission's initiatives to establish both an Information Coordination Group and an Operational Task Force to implement security strategies against such violence were timely ones. The initial phase of civil registration, despite almost no participation by the Serb or Turkish communities, was generally recognized as being successfully completed. At the same time, there was information that suggested that the registration process did not go so well. He was afraid that it would be difficult to rectify that situation before the elections on 28 October. He invited Mr. Kouchner to comment on that.

Addressing the issue of the Zvecan lead smelter, he said the intentions of UNMIK to undertake a clean-up of the plant and the surrounding environment were more than welcome. There were, however, still doubts as to whether it had really been necessary to assume control of the complex by force. It was also important to ensure that all the former workers at Trebca, who were now demonstrating, would not be deprived of getting their jobs back as soon as the complex was reopened. Addressing the proposed Pact, he said one should avoid, in adopting it, prejudging it in the final status issue, since the document would touch upon the legal side of the substantial autonomy of Kosovo.

He called on Mr. Kouchner to be vigilant about the substance of the Pact and to ensure that it was not seen as a substitution for the would-be outcome document of possible negotiations on Kosovo's final status. Also, whatever the results of the elections in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, UNMIK and KFOR must continue to pursue their efforts towards fulfilment of their main responsibilities as defined in resolution 1244 (1999) -- to promote the substantial autonomy and self- governance of Kosovo within that country. Whatever choice was made by the Yugoslav people, the United Nations and the international community had to respect that choice and get ready to cooperate with any leadership of the country.

M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said Kosovo had come a long way since 1999. It, therefore, could not risk jeopardizing support and crippling its economic and political development. Minority communities also continued to suffer threats, intimidation and violent attacks. Such incidents could well contribute to the outbreak of open hostilities and would undermine the valiant attempts at fostering tolerance and coexistence. She commended the initiatives launched by Mr. Kouchner to address the situation and asked to hear more about the new initiative designed to improve conditions for the non-Serb minorities and the results of his direct contacts with the those minorities.

She joined the call for Kosovo's leaders to condemn acts of political violence and to commit themselves to respecting the results of the upcoming elections in the Province. The political leaders of Kosovo must promote tolerance and engagement between the various ethnic communities. Reports from time to time of the discovery of caches of weapons still concerned her delegation. The issue of detained and missing persons was also one of the main obstacles to peace- building, reconciliation and tolerance. It was still a major source of tension in inter-ethnic relations. She, therefore, welcomed the appointment of the Special Envoy on Persons Deprived of Liberty in Kosovo. That was a positive first step.

She said the UNMIK police had also confirmed that trafficking in people, particularly girls and women, was a problem. Those victims must be helped and protected, she said. The concerted efforts being made by the Mission to build local capacity throughout Kosovo was critical for the Province's long-term sustainability, as well. The joint UNMIK-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) preparatory assistance project which focused on the development of planning and management capabilities in several municipalities was something she wanted to hear more about.

MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said his delegation appreciated the progress made by UNMIK, particularly the timely completion of phase one of the civil registration process; the establishment of the judicial system and the rule of law; the overhauling of the security and management of the penal system; and the continuing dialogue between the Mission and the local population.

He said, although intimidation and violence against minority ethnic communities was on the increase, there was solace to be found in the return of the Serb National Council of Gracanica to both the Joint Interim Administration and the Kosovo Transitional Council. He encouraged Mr. Kouchner to continue sharing the value and culture of democratic institutions with Kosovars in a manner that would encourage them to live and work in harmony.

Addressing the security situation, he expressed concern at the rise in politically motivated violence, particularly when it was directed against UNMIK and KFOR personnel, and minority ethnic communities. Initiatives taken by Mr. Kouchner to address those problems included the establishment of a special police force, and the identification of specific steps to improve the physical security of minority ethnic communities. Such initiatives were encouraging. He reiterated that his delegation would like to see the full implementation of resolution 1244 (1999) and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia respected by all.

MOCTAR OUANE (Mali), Council President, speaking in his national capacity, said he supported the work of the Special Representative and UNMIK. He stressed that equal importance must be given to reconstruction and tolerance and he fully supported the elections and the building of a multi-ethnic society. It was necessary, he said, to ensure that all ethnic groups participate in the electoral process. He concurred with the concerns relating to the return of the detainees.

Responding to questions and comments, Mr. KOUCHNER thanked the representatives for both their appreciative and critical remarks and noted that the expressions of positive appreciation had been greater than the criticism. The statements of the Russian Federation and China would provide the Mission with an opportunity to improve its work. He had done his best and those who had visited the region would bear witness that the situation had radically changed since the entry of the Mission. More time would be necessary for a change in attitude and conduct.

He said he shared the impatience expressed by the representatives, but 13 centuries of confrontation between the communities had elapsed -- one could not expect to stop the violence in 15 months. His team was not indifferent to the violence and devoted much of their energy to reducing it. He pointed out that such violence was not unique to Kosovo. The Mission tried to innovate and make their intervention more effective. While they could request KFOR to intervene in cases of violence, that was not its job. The conditions necessary for peace must be created.

He said the Council’s impatience reflected his daily impatience and that of his team. He stressed that nothing could be done without the devotion and dedication of the teams members. Day and night they worked towards the implementation of resolution 1244 (1999).

This was a unique opportunity to grasp democracy, and the majority of Serbs awaited that opportunity with great hope. The game of elections began with local elections. Municipal councils already existed and they administered the life of society. The elections would give them validity. He was sorry that the Serbs would not participate. When questioning how long one should wait to end the violence, it was necessary to note that the centuries that had elapsed had not been sufficient to end the violence.

He said elections were the only way to expel from power those who had come to their position by force. He stressed that he had not forgotten the provisions of resolution 1244 (1999).

He said the article in the Financial Times had improperly interpreted his remarks. He had never spoken of independence. It was true that the Albanians saw the elections and autonomy as just a phase, but that was not his opinion.

He said that when he had met with the Russian Ambassador in Kosovo, the Ambassador had said nothing about an arrest. It was important to note, however, that the Ambassador had been going across the border at a time when security was of particular importance. He was sorry that the diplomat had been detained too long at the border, but there was no ulterior motive.

Regarding the departure of Doctors without Borders, he agreed that the level of excessive violence was still too high. The Mission was dedicated, but it was impossible to ensure the safety of everyone.

Referring to the Pact, he said he could not have anyone sign a legally binding instrument. He would try to move forward on the basis of provisional autonomy. The Pact was not a legal pact, but a moral pact. Once they were beyond the elections, they could talk about autonomy.

He was pleased that the representative of the Russian Federation had quoted a Kosovo newspaper article, but he wished that he had also quoted the corrigendum. It was true that there had been some errors in transcribing the names, but they had been mostly corrected. Describing the database as being 30 per cent wrong was false. He could assure the Council that that was not the case.

Sometimes, to make progress, one had to persuade rather than speak frankly, he said. Independent experts had come and for three months they had tried to rectify the registration process. The voter list would be made available two weeks ahead of time, and they could be rectified by hand.

He said it was accurate to say that the minorities did not all benefit from full freedom, but had there been another society that had made such dramatic changes in one and a half years? It was difficult to deal with the lack of understanding between the communities. There had been no reconciliation. They had not talked to one another or been taught in the same language. Even in the hospitals, they did not talk with one another. After 13 centuries, it was not possible to talk about immediate reconciliation, but rather coexistence.

The workers in the smelter factory had been paid in dinars and deutschmarks, he said. They had been asked to return, and those who had now worked in safe conditions. There were now 300 such workers and that number would increase. In six months, international norms would be established.

He said the role of women was to encourage democracy and reduce violence. Efforts had been made to include the Turks in the registration process and almost half of the Turkish community had registered. Because of the date, however, other Turks were unable to participate.

Secretary-General’s Report

When the Security Council met this afternoon, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on UNMIK. The current report (document S/2000/878) covers the activities of the Mission and developments in Kosovo, a province in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, since the previous report of the Secretary-General on 6 June (documents S/2000/538 and Add.1).

In his latest report, the Secretary-General states that the most recent achievement of UNMIK was the timely completion of the first phase of the civil registration process, for which over 1 million registration applications were received. The registration was a major success with the ethnic Albanian population, with some 90 per cent of that community participating. The UNMIK also made major efforts to ensure that the registration would be simple and safe.

Nevertheless, continues the Secretary-General, widespread intimidation from hard-line Kosovo Serb elements, as well as fears about security, dissuaded the vast majority of Kosovo Serbs from taking part in the process. In addition, Kosovo Turkish participation was limited because of ongoing divisions within that community over demands for the adoption of Turkish as a third national language.

Addressing the security situation, the Secretary-General states that one of the main concerns of UNMIK in the pre-election period is the recent rise in politically motivated violence. The Mission has taken several initiatives to address the threat of such violence. These include the establishment of both an Information Coordination Group and an Operational Task Force to identify trends and to implement security strategies to respond to and deter political violence. The Task Force has developed detailed procedures to provide security support to at-risk candidates and for major events during the municipal election campaign period.

According to the Secretary-General, UNMIK has placed a high priority on deterring and responding to election-related violence. His Special Representative, Bernard Kouchner, has requested that the investigation of all incidents of suspected political violence be given the highest priority. In addition, UNMIK intends to vigorously enforce the election code of conduct, which strictly prohibits the involvement of political entities in any form of violence or intimidation. The Mission will strike out any candidate or political party from the ballot in cases where involvement in politically motivated violence can be substantiated.

The Secretary-General states that UNMIK is committed to the development of democracy in Kosovo and notes that the civil registration, while a major accomplishment, is only a first step. Over the next two months, the Mission will continue its preparations for holding free and fair municipal elections. The real key to success on 28 October, however, lies with the people of Kosovo. The Secretary-General calls on all registered voters to take part in the election process. Their continued support and participation is a crucial element in Kosovo's transition to authentic autonomy and self-governance.

The Secretary-General notes with concern, that if political violence continue unchecked, it could narrow the opportunity for mass participation in the election process. The Province's transition to self-governance could be in danger of being derailed by hard-line, principally Kosovo Albanian, elements who seek to use violence to undermine confidence in the democratic process. Such acts, the Secretary-General stresses, will not be tolerated.

The Secretary-General also stresses that while UNMIK intends to use all its resources to create an environment in which the people of Kosovo can vote freely and without fear, the final responsibility for deterring political violence rests squarely with local leaders. A resurgence of violence risks jeopardizing international support and crippling Kosovo's economic and political development.

The report states that significant progress has been made in enhancing the level of engagement between UNMIK and non-Albanian ethnic communities. With respect to non-Kosovo Serb minority communities, Mr. Kouchner has launched an initiative to identify and address the needs of those groups. UNMIK police have set up a special task force and, in conjunction with KFOR, have taken a series of steps to improve physical security for minority communities. With respect to the Kosovo Turkish community, UNMIK will continue to develop and implement the framework discussed with a broad spectrum of the Turkish community in the Province and with the Turkish authorities.

The Secretary-General underscores that the provision of adequate health-care services to the minorities is still a matter of concern. Despite concerted efforts by UNMIK to address this problem, the situation varies from region to region, and secondary care is inadequate for those isolated minorities whose freedom of movement is limited. There is continuing concern about the capacity to deal with the large number of returnees from abroad, which could overburden the fragile social services still being established in Kosovo.

The UNMIK is still concerned at the violence against non-Albanian ethnic groups, says the Secretary-General. Both Kosovo Serbs and Roma, in particular, continue to be the target of attacks and intimidation. He is especially outraged by recent incidents in which children and elderly people from those communities have been targeted. The Secretary-General urges all parties to take concrete measures to ensure that all Kosovo residents can enjoy an environment free of violence, intimidation and harassment.

According to the report, UNMIK is concerned by internally displaced Kosovo Serbs currently located in Serbia, many of whom appear to be extremely worried

about their current living conditions, particularly with the approach of winter. Unless the situation of those persons improves, these factors could lead to their return, without adequate preparation, to a situation of displacement and insecurity within the province. At the same time, it is critical that the international community provide assistance to minority communities to prepare for winter in an effort to discourage outflows of those who are considering departing before the start of inclement weather.

The report says that UNMIK views the rehabilitation of the Trepca industrial complex as a critical step in reviving growth, reducing unemployment and enhancing social cohesion. The decision to assume responsibility for the Zvecan lead smelter marked a major step forward in the Mission's comprehensive strategy to ensure the revival of this vital economic asset. Efforts are also being made to prevent a further release of sulphuric acid into the Ibar River from a Trepca battery plant, as happened recently. Those steps should help to facilitate the progressive return of the complex's employees, regardless of ethnicity, to their places of work.

Addressing the situation in the north of Kosovo and, in particular, in the city of Mitrovica, the Secretary-General notes that recent episodes of organized unrest in the northern part of the city have highlighted the relative ease with which committed troublemakers can create tension in the area. The UNMIK and KFOR have continued to work together to develop more effective joint security operations and improve the security environment in Mitrovica. Fundamental improvement will, however, require sustained effort to seize the initiative away from hard-line elements and create conditions for a long-term peace process.

The UNMIK and KFOR, continues the Secretary-General, are revising plans for the entire northern part of Kosovo and developing a comprehensive strategy to reinforce the influence of the international community throughout the area. This will serve as a prelude to the creation of conditions that will allow the Mission to effectively and fully exert its authority over the city of Mitrovica.

The report says that since June, extensive efforts to further the development of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) as a capable civil emergency unit have continued. Unfortunately, the KPC is facing critical equipment shortages that limit specialized training. It is essential for Member States to help put the KPC on a sound financial footing and provide it with sufficient funds to enable it to plan its activities with a greater degree of certainty.

The Secretary-General notes that the macroeconomic fundamentals are largely in place in Kosovo. The Central Fiscal Authority is functioning according to international standards and is effectively managing the Kosovo consolidated budget. The budget, however, is still reliant on donor contributions, and a balance must be maintained between the capacity for collecting revenue and the great demands on public spending. Those demands derive from a combination of the special requirements of the post-conflict situation and the need to build an efficient public service infrastructure. Donors will be approached, if necessary, to increase their contributions to meet shortfalls in local revenue collections.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.