Conclusions of the Contact Group Meeting with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government
Released by Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
On 8 June 2004, the Contact Group, UNMIK, KFOR, the PISG and the leaders of Kosovo’s Albanian and Serbian communities reviewed developments since their last meeting on April 20.
The Contact Group reaffirmed the principle that Kosovo should be a society where all communities can live, work in tolerance, peace, justice and free of fear and hostility.
The participants unanimously condemned the killing of Dimitrije Popovic in Gracanica on 5 June and expressed condolences to his family. It was agreed that the key priorities are to repair the damage of the March 2004 incidents, ensure proper prosecution of those responsible for this incident as well as the recent killing and re-build inter-ethnic confidence.
It was also agreed to accelerate the Standards implementation process with emphasis on progress towards a secure, democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo, and particularly on ensuring the physical and psychological safety of all communities. Concrete progress in efforts to energize the economy is also crucial to that end. Further improvement of the partnership between PISG and UNMIK will be instrumental in this entire context.
In order to achieve these objectives the following concrete steps were identified. The Contact Group will review progress towards these objectives at their next Contact Group meeting in Pristina:
Security, Reconstruction, Returns and the Rule of Law
The Contact Group took note of the report by the PISG on the reconstruction activities undertaken. The Contact Group expressed its disappointment at the rate of reconstruction achieved so far. The PISG will now need to accelerate the pace of reconstruction of K/Serb homes to the same standards as before the violence. The PISG has committed itself to provide the necessary funds and to involve the interested communities constructively and in a transparent process. Reconstruction already has started in some selected municipalities and is now expected to be extended throughout Kosovo. The objective is to repair as many houses as possible by September and complete the reconstruction operations before the winter.
The PISG has committed itself to intensify efforts to repair/rebuild the damaged public buildings with the aim to complete the rehabilitation/reconstruction of schools in time for the beginning of the school year. The PISG will also continue to engage with the relevant International Organizations and the Orthodox Church in order to begin rapidly the repair of churches and religious sites.
Return of the recently displaced persons remains a top priority. Therefore the PISG has committed itself to foster its own capacity at the central level to effectively address community issues, including returns. The PISG and K/Albanian party leaders agreed to do their part with concrete actions to ensure that a safe and sustainable return environment is provided. To this end they are expected to assume political responsibility for ensuring full cooperation of all communities in the reconstruction and the return process, including at the local level. The Contact Group also welcomes the reiterated commitment of UNMIK and KFOR to intensify their efforts in ensuring security for returns and reconstruction.
As a confidence building measure, it was also agreed to establish a Kosovo Security Advisory Group with the participation of representatives of the Kosovo communities in order to provide for enhanced exchange of information on current security issues. This group will not affect the responsibility of UNMIK and KFOR in their respective areas of competence. The focus of the group will be on security issues related to reconstruction and returns.
It was also agreed that continued cooperation between UNMIK, KFOR and the PISG is needed in order to bring the perpetrators and instigators of the March 2004 riots to justice. In particular, the Contact Group urges UNMIK to proceed with prosecutions of persons involved in the March violence, and urges the people of Kosovo and the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government to cooperate in those prosecutions.
The Contact Group urged UNMIK and the PISG to cooperate in order to implement the recommendations of the Temporary Media Commission.
The Contact Group encourages the efforts of the PISG, led by the Prime Minister and party leaders, in reaching out to threatened communities in Kosovo, and urged them to continue and expand inter-ethnic dialogue.
Accelerating the Kosovo Standards Implementation
The Contact Group re-emphasized its strong support for the implementation of the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan and expressed its view that the speed of implementation needs to be increased.
The Contact Group took note of the reports by the PISG on developments since the last meeting of the Contact Group. It urges the PISG and UNMIK to complete the revision of the KSIP in the two sections "sustainable returns and the rights of communities" and "freedom of movement". It also expects the PISG, which is responsible for the KSIP implementation, to then take immediate action on these two standards in accordance with the agreed priorities.
The Contact Group also welcomed the agreement between UNMIK and PISG to establish a joint mechanism to steer the Standards Implementation. It was also agreed that local representatives of the Contact Group will participate. A first meeting is expected to be convened within one week.
As a part of the implementation of the standards, the Contact Group considers it essential that Kosovo produces a plan for effective local government. PISG and UNMIK have established a Working Group on Local Government that agreed to produce within one month a Legislative Framework for new institutional arrangements and transfer of responsibilities to allow for more effective local government. This Framework should reflect consultations with various Kosovo communities and international parties.
Readiness was expressed by the PISG and UNMIK to continue the Direct Dialogue with Belgrade on practical issues as early as possible. The Contact Group calls on all parties concerned in cooperation with UNMIK to announce dates for resumption of the Direct Dialogue working group meetings.
The Contact Groups urgently calls on the K/Serbs to resume their active participation in the Kosovo institutions, and particularly to urgently join the process of Standards Implementation and the Working Group on Local Government, noting that participation in this processes is the best way for K/Serbs to help shape their future in Kosovo.
The Contact Group emphasized the crucial importance of economic development and tangible progress in the areas of job creation, market economy reform, investments on infrastructure and agriculture. In this context the Contact Group particularly stressed the need to restart the privatization process forthwith.