Security Council mission to Kosovo calls on all communities to shun extremism

“The communities should look toward the future,” Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations and the President of the Council for the month of June, told a press conference in Pristina at the end of a two-day visit. “They should not be pulled back by their past, but to organize their lives for peaceful coexistence.” Ambassador Chowdhury, who led the Council delegation, noted that the Serb community was particularly concerned about security, saying that displaced Kosovo Serbs would not be able to return home unless their security was insured. The issue of missing and detained persons came up during discussions as a priority concern of the Council, he said, adding that the delegation would take up the matter with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica on Monday, when it travels to Belgrade. Another strong message the Council repeated throughout its visit was the importance of the participation of the Kosovo Serbs in the 17 November elections and in the interim institutions to be created. Shortly before the Sunday press conference, the delegation met with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, who had made a surprise visit to Kosovo from Belgrade to review the 3,000-strong Russian contingent at Pristina airport. According to the UN Interim Administration Mission in the province (UNMIK), the Council members and the head of UNMIK, Hans Haekkerup, had “full and frank discussions” with President Putin on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1244, which established the UN presence in Kosovo. They also discussed the upcoming elections and security concerns. The Council delegation also held meetings with representatives of all Kosovo communities, met with members of the Interim Administrative Council and the Kosovo Transitional Council, visited the divided city of Mitrovica and met with human rights activists.

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