24 March 2006

Kosovo's prime minister allowed to attend Security Council meeting on the province

Associated Press, Feb 03, 2006 8:53 AM


PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro-Kosovo's prime minister will be allowed to attend the upcoming U.N. Security Council meeting assessing the province's progress toward stability, the top U.N. administrator said Friday.


Security Council members agreed to allow Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi to attend the meeting in New York scheduled Feb. 14., said Soren Jessen-Petersen, Kosovo's chief U.N. administrator.


Kosumi said he has been invited as a guest and will not make a speech.


It will be the first time that a Kosovo leader is present at a U.N. session on the province, which regularly assesses the situation in the disputed province.


The United Nations has administered Kosovo since NATO's 1999 air war against Yugoslavia. The NATO bombardment forced former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to end a crackdown on rebel ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and relinquish control over the region.


In November, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed the former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari to lead talks to resolve Kosovo's future status, whether it should remain part of Serbia-Montenegro, become independent, or be given some other status.


Those talks were delayed until late February, however, because of the death on Jan. 21 of Kosovo's President Ibrahim Rugova.


Annan offered a grim assessment of Kosovo's progress toward stability, saying in a report Tuesday that the region had fallen behind in efforts to create a multiethnic and democratic society. He called on Kosovo's leaders to renew their efforts.


The U.N. has set eight benchmarks for Kosovo to meet. They include establishing democratic institutions, protecting minorities, promoting economic development and ensuring the rule of law, freedom of movement and property rights.