UN peacekeeping chief calls for law, order in Kosovo


Belgrade : The UN peacekeeping chief Jean- Marie Guehenno on Sunday called on Kosovo Serb leaders to respect law and order as violence is not a way to solve problems.

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Guehenno, the UN undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, made the appeal after meeting the presidents of northern Kosovo Serb-majority municipalities in the Kosovo flashpoint town of Mitrovica, Serbia`s official news agency Tanjug reported.

The UN Security Council Resolution 1244 is still in effect and all practical endeavors must be based on that document, Guehenno said.

The talks with local Serb officials focused on the current situation in northern Kosovo, Guehenno told reporters.

The Serb officials said that the sole reason for violence and lack of security in northern Kosovo was “an attempt by the international community and the UN Mission in Kosovo to establish the institutions of independent Kosovo.”

During the violent protests of Kosovo Serbs in Mitrovica on March 17, a Ukrainian member of UN police forces was killed and around a hundred other UN police and NATO-led peacekeepers were wounded.

Guehenno on Saturday arrived in Kosovo for a two-day visit, the first visit by a senior UN official after Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February.

On Saturday evening, Guehenno met Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and UN mission chief Joachim Rucker. The talks focused on the future of the UN mission in Kosovo after the entry into force of the Kosovo constitution, which is expected on June 15.

On Monday Guehenno is expected to visit Belgrade, where he will hold talks with Serbian state officials.

By visiting Kosovo and Serbia, the French diplomat will try to launch the process of settling a number of burning problems that were triggered by the deployment of the EU civil mission (EULEX) in Kosovo, which is expected to replace the UN mission which has been in Kosovo for the last nine years.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that the UNMIK, which has been in place since mid-1999, will continue to exercise its authority until the Security Council decides otherwise.

The ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on Feb. 17. Belgrade has said the proclamation is null and void.