04 December 2006

Czech Republic opens liaison office in Kosovo

CZECH NEWS AGENCY, Tuesday, November 07, 2006 9:27 PM


Pristina/Prague, Nov 7 (CTK) - The Czech Foreign Ministry has opened a United Nations liaison office in Kosovo within the UNMIK mission, which will be headed by Vladimir Lukastik, the Foreign Ministry told journalists today. "The liaison office will fulfil political and economic functions, but it will not be involved in any consular or visa activities," the Foreign Ministry said. Kosovo is formally still a province of Serbia, but since the 1999 NATO intervention against the regime of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, it has been administered by the United Nations and NATO soldiers, including Czechs, who maintain peace and order between the hostile ethnic groups. The Vienna talks about Kosovo's future status have been fruitless. Albanians, who make up 90 percent of the population, seek independence, a scheme rejected by Kosovo Serbs and Belgrade. According to the Foreign Ministry press department, Joachim Ruecker, special representative of the Secretary General and head of UNMOVIK in Kosovo, and supreme commander of the KFOR General Roland Kather praised the Czech Republic's involvement and significant contribution of the Czech military contingent to the maintenance and protection of internal stability in Kosovo when the office was opened on November 2. The Czech Republic played the leading role in the multinational brigade Centre until this August. At that time, there were almost 500 Czech soldiers in Kosovo. Last month, the Czech national energy company CEZ voiced interest in the tender for a new power plant and development of coal mines in Kosovo.