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Bulgarian Prime Minister and SRSG Bernard Kouchner Discussed Peace Process in Kosovo

PRISTINA -- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bernard Kouchner, today met with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Ivan Kostov, and the Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister, Marim Rajkov, who were visiting Kosovo.

Kouchner welcomed the visit of Mr. Kostov and Bulgaria's contributions to the peace efforts in Kosovo, in particular to the process of building confidence. "Not only did they offer us help on the ground, they offered us some perspective for the future and also some perspective in the dialogue," Kouchner said.

During the talks, the Bulgarian Prime Minister proposed to increase the number of police officers serving with UNMIK. He also offered his contribution in promoting the dialogue between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo.

Asked after the meeting under what conditions a dialogue between the Albanian and Serb sides could be reached, Kouchner emphasized patience, persistence and daily hard work. He added that "we have to give confidence to the Serb community and, at the same time, we also have to explain the future to the Albanian community".

He further stressed the need to decrease the level of tension in Mitrovica, to resettle displaced persons in a two-way return process and, as a very important factor, to create employment. "And mainly we have to offer them work, jobs, so to restart the industry, not only in Mitrovica, but in all parts of Kosovo," Kouchner said.

Mr. Kostov had visited the Bulgarian troops in Prizren and had met with Bulgarian police officers. He was also due to meet with the KFOR Commander, General Klaus Reinhardt, as well as with Albanian and Serb political leaders in Kosovo.

At the end of their meeting, SRSG Kouchner told Mr. Kostov that he would visit him in Sofia in order to continue their discussion.

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