UN may remain for limited duration: Kosovo president

June 17th, 2008 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Pristina, June 17 (DPA) Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu Tuesday told the UN that its mission would be allowed to remain in Kosovo for a “limited duration” after governing it for eight years.
“We take note of your decision to have the UN perform certain limited residual functions in Kosovo,” Sejdiu told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a letter that was also released to media.

The letter was Sejdiu’s response to UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s proposal last week to reshape the UN presence in order to reflect the new developments in Kosovo.

On Sunday, Kosovo started enforcing its new constitution, which however makes no room for a UN role. Pristina wants the the EULEX, a lighter, law-enforcing mission deployed by the European Union to take over.

“We understand that the UN will continue to perform, for a limited duration, rule of law functions … until the European Union is able to perform its operational role,” the letter said.

Sejdiu stressed that UN would have to consult Pristina for “viable arrangements”.

The UN mission arrived nine years ago, after NATO ousted Belgrade’s security forces from Kosovo to end repression of the Albanians, a 90-percent ethnic majority.

Since fledging under the auspices of the UN, Kosovo institutions have been building the foundation to declare independence from Serbia, which Pristina finally did on Feb 17 after two years of failed talks with Belgrade.

Backed by Russia, Serbia however insists that Kosovo is its soil. It rejected Ban’s plan as a “backdoor” for the recognition of independence.

Belgrade has limited diplomatic relations with more than 40 countries, including most Western powers, which have recognized Kosovo as a new country.

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