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Kosovo: UN official stresses broad international support for status proposal

17 February 2007 – The senior United Nations official in Kosovo, which the world body has administered since NATO forces responded to ethnic strife there in 1999, today stressed the broad international support enjoyed by a UN status proposal, saying it comes “at an ideal moment in history.”

UN Special Representative Joachim Rücker urged participants at a townhall meeting in Klinë/Klina municipality to remain open to proposals put forward by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoy for the status process, Martti Ahtisaari.

“Even if some things don't feel ideal to you, I would appeal to you to have a positive attitude towards the status package,” Mr. Rücker said. “Now we have the green light also from the European Union for Mr. Ahtisaari to go ahead to the next step,” he added.

The Special Representative called on those wishing to express their opinion through demonstrations to do so peacefully. “At this point in time, we should not make any mistakes,” he said. “It would be very detrimental if developments in Kosovo would come in the way of the status process.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Ahtisaari presented a provisional plan under which Kosovo would have the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, with an international civilian and military presence supervising the new arrangements and helping to ensure peace and stability.

But the plan, which was presented to Serbia and to the ethnic Albanian Kosovo authorities, does not specifically mention independence for the province, which the UN has run since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid brutal ethnic fighting.

Serbia rejects independence, a goal sought by many of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, who outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1.

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