16 February, 2006
The United Nations' Security Council on Tuesday evening was briefed by Soren Jessen-Petersen, the UN Secretary-General's special representative for Kosovo, over recent developments in the strife-plagued province.
Jessen-Petersen told the Council that the pace of implementation of standards, including those on minority rights, has slowed in recent months, according to a UN press release. He also urged all parties in Kosovo to work together on decentralization.
Greece's representative on the Security Council, Amb. Adamantios Vassilakis noted that the Council has stressed, since last November, "the need for increased efforts on behalf of the Provisional Institutions for progress in standards implementation," while underlining that the pace of progress would be an important factor in determining the pace and progress of the status negotiations.
He regretted that, since then, progress had been "too slow ... The final assessment of the last months could only be that more needed to be done."
Vassilakis added that Provisional Authorities needed to do much more on decentralization, while saying that the security situation remained fragile and more needed to be done in that regard. More progress was also needed, he said, in areas of minority rights, technical dialogue, access to justice and access to basic public services.
"It was also highly regrettable that there had been a decline in the participation of Kosovo Serb leaders in the political process, and Belgrade should encourage those leaders to participate constructively in the Provisional Institutions."
As for the upcoming meeting in Vienna, which would constitute the beginning of the status negotiating process, Vassilakis reiterated that implementation of standards was an obligation of Kosovo's leaders.
"The goal of the negotiations must be a new democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo."
Finally, he welcomed the launch of the negotiation process and stressed, as one coming from a country in the region, it would be in everyone's interest to reach a successful outcome through a negotiated and mutually agreed settlement.
Source: Athens News Agency