Annan Calls for Further Progress in Implementing Kosovo Standards

In a new report on UNMIK submitted to the Security Council this week, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan recommends that a comprehensive review of Kosovo’s progress in implementing a set of UN-set standards be initiated this summer. But further progress towards meeting the targets is an essential precondition for launching a process to determine the province’s future status, the report stresses.
 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Released Thursday (26 May), one day before the Security Council is to take up the Kosovo issue, the document covers the period from 1 February to 30 April. It concludes that implementation efforts have produced concrete results — particularly in the areas of government reform, the rule of law and minority rights — but warns that none of the standards has been fully met.

The standards cover eight priority areas: democratic institutions, the rule of law, freedom of movement, sustainable returns of displaced persons, economic growth, property rights, cultural heritage, intercommunity dialogue and establishment of a civil emergency response corps.

“All standards are important and the focus on areas of particular importance to Kosovo minorities does not diminish the relevance of any of the eight standards,” Annan said, urging the Kosovo provisional institutions to remain focused on meeting the benchmarks.

“Ongoing implementation of the standards now and in the future will be a crucial element of a smooth and orderly political process leading to the determination of the future status of Kosovo whenever that process may begin, and will be central to the sustainability of an eventual political settlement,” Annan said.

While noting improvements in outreach to minority communities and the peaceful transition of government following former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s resignation in March, Annan voiced concern over the slow progress in decentralisation, as well as intra-party rancor and incidents of violence.

“It is crucial that any threats of violence or intimidation not detract us from our goal,” the UN chief said. “It is the responsibility of all people in Kosovo to ensure that the work of extremists is not allowed to dictate the future course of Kosovo.”

European diplomatic sources say Annan is likely to name Norwegian Ambassador to NATO Kai Eide as the special envoy in charge of conducting the assessment. The process of drafting the review is expected to take about two months, allowing the envoy to present a final report at the beginning of September. The six-nation Contact Group for Kosovo would then hold a meeting at the ministerial level.

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