UN chief says it's "important for elections to succeed"

The success of elections, especially in northern Kosovo, will be important for future consolidation of peace and stability, says Ban Ki-moon's regular report.

Source: Tanjug

"The overall security situation in Kosovo remained generally calm, with occasional incidents reported in ethnically mixed areas. All sides appeared to demonstrate an increased commitment to prevent tensions on the ground to enable the high level dialogue and implementation process to move forward," said the UN secretary-general.

The implementation of the Brussels agreement continues to move forward, but there is still a strong campaign in northern Kosovo against participation in the local elections although the Serbian leadership has committed its strong support for Kosovo Serb participation in the upcoming elections, Ban wrote in the document which the Tanjug news agency had seen.

He commended Belgrade and Priština for their continued efforts in the EU-facilitated dialogue and thanked High Representative Catherine Ashton, "whose personal role also continues to be essential."

"Progress on the ground toward peace and stability and in the political dialogue will also remain crucial in light of Serbia's and Kosovo's aspirations toward the European integration," he said.

"The Serbian leadership has committed its strong support for Kosovo Serb participation in the upcoming elections and has been playing an active role to that effect. By the end of the registration period on 4 September, a total of 103 political entities, including 19 in northern Kosovo, applied and were certified by the Kosovo Central Election Commission," Ban said.

The report, which will be read out at a session of the UN Security Council which Tanjug said it learned should be held in the second half of November, also highlights the murder of a EULEX member on September 19, stressing that a criminal investigation has been launched by EULEX with support from the Kosovo police and Kosovo Special Prosecutor's Office while the Serbian government has also pledged its full support.

In the section on police and the judiciary, the report reads that on 25 July, five Kosovo Serb and one Kosovo Albanian senior officers were appointed to command positions in the new Regional Police Command North in northern Kosovo.

Detailed negotiations on the transfer of judicial personnel and on the future court structure in northern Kosovo have proceeded more slowly, but are continuing. On 1 September, the Serbian Justice Ministry extended its earlier decision to suspend its activities in northern Kosovo, pending agreements of the outstanding issues, reads the report.

According to UNMIK, a total of 76 incidents affecting the minority communities were reported during the period between July 16 and October 15 this year, while three months earlier there were 90 such incidents.

As for the missing persons, Ban said that since the deployment of EULEX, in 2008, 407 field operations to collect data which could lead to exhumations have been carried out and remains of 355 individuals have been returned to families. However, there are estimated 1,720 persons who are still missing from the 1998-1999 conflict.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of September, 569 Kosovo Serb displaced families expressed willingness to return to Kosovo from Serbia, along with 112 Kosovo Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families from Montenegro, and 45 Kosovo Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

UNMIK Administration Mitrovica (UAM) continued its monitoring, mediation and facilitation roles, as part of UNMIK's sustained effort to support institutional and political progress in the region, the report reads.

"My Special Representative Farid Zarif has continued to invest substantial efforts in northern Kosovo by regularly engaging with all relevant stakeholders, both through meetings and public statements, in order to enhance constructive dialogue," Ban said in the report.


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