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EU to send police and civilian mission to Kosovo


Brussels : The European Union approved Saturday to launch the Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo known as “EULEX Kosovo”.

The mission, which will be conducted under the European security and defence policy (ESDP), will assist Kosovo authorities, judicial authorities and law enforcement agencies in their progress towards sustainability and accountability, noted an EU statement.

The decision comes only a day before the expected declaration of independence by Kosovo on Sunday.

The mission’s operational phase is foreseen to start after a 120-day transition period and will gradually replace the United Nations mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

It is also aimed at developing and strengthening an independent multi-ethnic justice system and multi-ethnic police and customs service in Kosovo.

The mission, to cost 205 million euro for a 16-month period, will include a police component, a justice component and a customs component.

Once it reaches full operational capability the mission will have around 1900 police officers, judges, prosecutors and customs officials and approximately 1100 local staff and will be based in headquarters in Pristina.

The head of the EUs biggest civilian mission will be a retired French general Yves de Kermabon.

In parallel with the approval of the Kosovo mission, the EU also decided to establish an EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Kosovo and appointed Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith to this position.

Feith has served as the head of EU Expert Team for Iraq and also as Personal Representative of the EU High Representative, Javier Solana, for Sudan/Darfur.