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Official Urges Kosovars To Comply With UN

United Nations, 29 November 2004 -- The head of the UN mission in Kosovo said today that he is prepared to use sanctions and other disciplinary measures to ensure compliance by local officials with UN guidelines on security, minority rights, and rule of law.

Special representative Soren Jessen-Petersen told the UN Security Council today that he is looking at ways to enforce accountability by local leaders with reforms aimed at building a multiethnic society.

He said the ethnic Albanian-dominated local government must show it is serious about measures such as safeguarding the return of displaced persons.

"UNMIK and [NATO-led] KFOR are now better positioned to provide protection, but only Kosovo Albanian leaders and society can and must effectively dispel the need for such protection and create true security," Jessen-Petersen said.

More than 2,000 Kosovo Serbs remain displaced since the outbreak of violence against Serbs and other minorities in March. Overall, nearly 200,000 Serbs have not returned to their homes since the UN took over administration of the province in 1999.

Jessen-Petersen also urged Kosovo Serbs to become engaged in local governing structures. But a Serb official coordinating affairs in Kosovo, Nebojsa Covic, told the council that the UN mission has neglected the security needs of Kosovo Serbs and he repeated Belgrade's call for granting autonomy to Serb communities in Kosovo.