Kosovo’s premier Hashim Thaci appointed Ylber Hysa as the government’s coordinator of the strategy for Mitrovica North.
“Ylber Hysa will be responsible for coordinating all of the government’s activities as they relate to the strategy, as well as for the cooperation with all relevant international mechanisms for the implementation of the strategy,” the premier’s statement reads.
The strategy for the north, drafted by the International Civilian Office and Kosovo’s government, calls for the creation of a new municipality in Mitrovica North and the dissolution of the parallel structures funded by the Serbian government, among other elements. Serbia and Kosovo Serbs have objected to the strategy.
The northern half of the northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica, a city which has been divided along ethnic lines since the end of the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo in 1999, remains largely under the control of Belgrade.
The International Civilian Representative Pieter Feith welcomed the appointment of Hysa as the government’s coordinator of the strategy.
“Good co-ordination is important as we work to reach out to citizens in northern Kosovo. I am glad that Mr Hysa will be helping to make progress in providing public services, improving governance, strengthening the rule of law and promoting economic development,” Feith’s press office reported.
“Mr Hysa’s wide range of experience in international negotiation as well as in working with communities, especially in the non-government organisations sector, will be of great assistance and relevance to the tasks ahead,” Feith said.
Hysa was previously an MP, the vice president of the reformist party ORA, and a member of Kosovo’s delegation for the status talks.
Meanwhile, the 14 multiethnic members of the Municipal Preparatory Team for Mitrovica North are in the final stage of training before they actively take up their positions. Their key task is to prepare elections in the north and identify the legal and administrative infrastructure that best fits the locality’s needs.
Gracanica, one of the municipalities newly created by the decentralisation process and led by a Kosovo Serb president, will soon receive all the civil registration and planning documents from the municipality of Pristina.
Decentralisation is part of the Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo, which is being followed by the Kosovo government but has been rejected by Serbia and most Kosovo Serbs. The International Civilian Office is in Kosovo to help with the implementation of the plan.