Gradual transfer of power to Kosovo authorities key goal new UN mission

Michael Steiner, who on 14 February will assume his post in Kosovo as the Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told a UN press briefing in New York that in order to achieve that mission, one had to participate in the production of a decent living perspective for the Kosovars and participate in the production of stability and security in the region.In the end, the region and Kosovo needed a perspective for integration with Europe, Mr. Steiner said, and the price for that was establishing the rule of law, functioning institutions, a democratic political culture, a free press and a sound economic basis. Among some of the immediate tasks to be attacked was the establishment of provisional institutions of self-government, which was a job for the Kosovars themselves, with help of UNMIK, Mr. Steiner stressed. Out of respect for processes the UN had designed and for democratic processes, the Special Representative said he saw it as his job to first listen to the leaders on the ground before thinking about a solution for the current deadlock in creating a government. A second task was the transfer of authority to the Kosovars, Mr Steiner said, warning that the local authorities would inevitably make mistakes and that was a risk that had to be accepted. In the meantime, it might take some time for UNMIK to downsize as it changed from administrative structures to an advisory arrangement. It was also necessary to get the representatives of the provisional institution of self-government involved in the dialogue with Belgrade. The question of Kosovo’s final status should not be addressed at this time, Mr. Steiner said, noting that Security Council resolution 1244 stipulated in that the outcome was open. The sooner Kosovars showed responsibilities in the areas of rule of law and institution building, the sooner that question could be addressed. In order to avoid a re-emergence of problems already tackled, sustainability was the catchword. Continued support of the international community and the Security Council was crucial to achieve the intended goals. While the task ahead would be difficult, Mr. Steiner said, there was one big asset: the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. “With such a team, even sometimes impossible tasks might be done in a reasonable way,” he said. read more

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