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Kosovo: Stabbing of Serb youth, UN urges restraint

Reacting to stabbing of Kosovo Serb youth, UN envoy urges restraint

The senior United Nations envoy to Kosovo today voiced deep regret at the stabbing of a Kosovo Serb juvenile in the northern part of Mitrovica this evening and urged all concerned to exercise restraint while the police investigate.

“I deeply regret and am shocked to learn about this deplorable incident,” said Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative, Søren Jessen-Petersen, in a statement released in Pristina.

“I have asked the police to launch a full investigation into all of the circumstances relating to the incident. In the meantime, while this matter is being looked into, I urge restraint and ask all those with any information on the incident to come forward and share that with the police.”

In a separate development, the envoy today welcomed the call by Kosovo’s Prime Minister to the province’s Serbs to join efforts to build a multi-ethnic society – a step which would guarantee them their rightful place.

“The Prime Minister’s appeal is yet another example of the earnestness of the Kosovo leadership to fully integrate the Kosovo Serb community in the current and future structures in Kosovo,” he said.

“It is now time for the Kosovo Serbs to respond in kind, to take the hand that is reaching out to them in a spirit of partnership, and work together with the Kosovo Albanian community to build a common future in Kosovo.”

At the same time, he voiced concern about recent developments which make it difficult for Kosovo Serbs to engage in the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government.

“There are extremely important issues pertaining to decentralization that are being discussed within the framework of the status talks,” he said, adding that Martti Ahtisaari, the envoy charged with talks on that process, is exploring common ground on the matter.

“It is very important in this critical phase of the process that all parties refrain from any unilateral measures,” Mr. Jessen-Petersen cautioned.

The UN has administered Kosovo ever since 1999 when the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) drove out Yugoslav troops amid grave rights abuses in ethnic fighting.

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