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Kosovo heading towards phase of greater stability, UN envoy says

12 May 2011 – Kosovo appears to be heading towards a period of increased political stability that should in turn promoter greater dialogue between representatives of Kosovo and Serbia, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council today.

Lamberto Zannier, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), presented the latest report on the work of the mission, stressing that further progress in dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade is “key to finding solutions to the unresolved issues that hamper Kosovo’s development.”

Mr. Zannier said the process of dialogue has begun positively, with three face-to-face meetings so far between the representatives of Kosovo and Serbia.

The discussions have “focused on issues of importance to the day-to-day lives of Kosovo’s inhabitants,” he said, citing such subjects as civil registration, freedom of movement and telephony.

“I am hopeful that both Pristina and Belgrade will demonstrate the resolve needed to find solutions to all relevant issues in a constructive spirit, so as to solve problems for all communities, as well as to create better conditions for progress on reconciliation and for the further advancement of the entire region towards a common European future.”

Mr. Zannier stressed that it is also essential for the parties to treat the situation on the ground both cooperatively and with respect for the concerns of all of Kosovo’s communities.

“Solutions that foster trust between Kosovo’s communities stand a much greater chance of serving the interests of long-term peace and stability,” he said.

He noted that many problems remain, notably in the north of Kosovo, where inter-communal relations are especially poor and the census has not yet been carried out as scheduled.

“The process has been unduly politicized and UNOPS [the UN Office for Project Services] reports that cooperation from local institutions on a number of operational aspects has not been forthcoming, in particular with regard to the formation of local census commissions and recruitment of field staff.

“This situation, if not rectified, will be detrimental for everybody. Without proper collection of data on the dimension and composition of the communities, it will be more difficult to plan the much needed interventions to promote the economic and social development of this region.”

The returns process across Kosovo also remains slow, in part because of a struggling economy marked by high unemployment and heavy public spending.

“Although there are expectations of significant economic growth, there is still a lack of foreign investment; moreover, inflation is rising and in March the consumer price index was 10.8 per cent higher than it had been one year before,” the Special Representative said.



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