UN Official: Review of Progress In Kosovo In 2005
Kosovo: UN official says progress towards standards could be reviewed in 2005
The United Nations peacekeeping chief today raised the prospect that Kosovo's progress towards reaching the standards of a normal society - necessary before its future status can be determined - could be reviewed by mid-2005.
In an open briefing to the Security Council, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno said any decision on Kosovo's final status depends on how far its institutions go towards achieving benchmarks set out in a recently released 10-page "standards" document.
He added that the progress made by Kosovo's provisional institutions would now be regularly monitored, with a general review possible by mid-2005. "Further advancement towards the process leading to a determination of Kosovo's future status will depend on the positive outcome of the comprehensive review," he said.
The future status of Kosovo, which has been under UN adThe UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK) in the conflict-torn province is working to help build a multi-ethnic society in which people can progressively enjoy substantial autonomy.
Last week the Council issued a statement supporting the standards document, which has eight benchmark categories: functioning democratic institutions, rule of law, freedom of movement, returns and reintegration, economy, property rights, dialogue with Belgrade, and the Kosovo Protection Corps.
Within those categories, the document focuses on such achievements as fair and regular elections, an impartial legal system and a free news media.
Mr. Guéhenno told the Council that there has been a jump in serious crimes in Kosovo, including attacks against Kosovo Police Service officers, in the past two months. But he said that crimes against Kosovo Serbs, as well ethnically motivated crimes, fell in the same period.
The Under-Secretary-General said UNMIK has also transferred a number of its responsibilities to Kosovo's provisional institutions, but noted some irregularities in the performance of the Kosovo Assembly.
In the debate that followed, involving over a dozen
speakers, participants voiced support for the plan to reach
standards before determining status while noting that the
current reality is far from the ideal envisaged in the
document. At the same time, concern was expressed over
continued instability in the province, with delegates urging
stepped-up measures to prevent ethnically motivated