"Community of municipalities remains challenge"

Challenges remain in the implementation of certain provisions of the Brussels Agreement, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report on Kosovo.

Source: Tanjug
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This concerns in particular the establishment of the community of Serb municipalities - which, however, should not overshadow the remarkable progress achieved in the Belgrade-Priština dialogue, Tanjug quoted Ban as stating.

The EU-facilitated dialogue has resumed, "albeit at a somewhat slower pace, largely owing to the general elections in Serbia and the forthcoming legislative elections in Kosovo," Ban said in his regular report covering the period between January 21 and April 15.

Progress towards full implementation of the Brussels Agreement is essential, the UN secretary-general said.

"A few challenges remain with regard to the implementation of certain provisions of the Agreement, in particular those relating to the establishment of the association/community of Serbian municipalities in Kosovo," Ban said, encouraging both sides to "continue to make efforts towards the full and faithful implementation of the Agreement," including the establishment of the community of Serb municipalities.

"I welcome, in particular, the agreement reached by the parties during the reporting period on remaining technical issues concerning the integration of Serbian parallel judicial institutions into the legal framework of Kosovo. I look forward to a final agreement on the integration of the judiciary at the next high-level meeting within the framework of the European Union-facilitated dialogue," Ban said.

"I also welcome the steps taken towards the full establishment of the new municipal governments in northern Kosovo, following the holding of successful local elections in 2013," Ban said.

Progress has also been achieved in implementing other areas of the Agreement, including the integration of officers of the Serbian Interior Ministry into the Kosovo police, he said.

"Continued engagement by the European Union remains critical to achieving further progress in the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Priština, as does the support provided by the international community at large," he said.

International attention has been drawn to the "killing of a 22-year-old Kosovo Albanian in Fallujah, Iraq. According to local authorities, to date eight Kosovo Albanians have been killed in the conflicts in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic," Ban said, adding that the matter continues to be of concern.

Despite incidents, the security situation in Kosovo remained generally stable, Ban said in the report, adding that the rate of voluntary return and reintegration of displaced persons from Kosovo is still low.

The document also includes a report by EU Foreign Policy and Security Chief Catherine Ashton, who said that the EULEX Special Investigative Task Force, headed by Lead Prosecutor Clint Williamson, continued to investigate the allegations contained in the report by Council of Europe Special Rapporteur Dick Marty on the inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo.

"Investigative and operational activities continued apace, while cooperation with judicial and law enforcement authorities in the region and beyond remained fruitful," the report said.

During a meeting with Kosovo's justice minister Hajredin Kuci, Williamson reiterated his determination to "conduct an impartial and independent investigation that uncovers the whole truth behind the serious allegations" and that the Task Force has been empowered "to investigate and, if warranted, prosecute individuals personally responsible for crimes alleged in the report," Ashton said.

Ban's report will be presented at the UN Security Council session scheduled for May 27.

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