Mr Chénard, who is accompanied by other CLRAE members, representatives of the European Commission for Democracy through Law ("Venice Commission") and independent experts, met with representatives of UNMIK and OSCE working on drafting the regulation and with international regional and municipal administrators from various parts of Kosovo.
Talks were held with Ramë BUJA (Co-Director of the Department of Local Administration), Bajram REXHEPI (Party of Democratic Progress in Kosovo - "PPDK", Mitrovica), Blerim REKA (Chairman of the Joint Advisory Council on Legislative Matters) and other Albanian members of the UNMIK Interim Administration.
A meeting also took place in Gracanica with Bishop ARTEMIJE of the Serb Orthodox Church, Momcilo TRAJKOVIC (President of the Serb Resistance Movement in Kosovo) and Oliver IVANOVIC (President of the Serb National Council of Mitrovica District).
The CLRAE President appealed to all Kosovar interlocutors to co-operate in a spirit of openness in the common institutions set up at regional and local level for the benefit of all communities in Kosovo. He stressed that they should fully contribute to the democratic process which will begin later this year with municipal elections. This process should give guarantees for minorities to participate in municipal structures, Mr Chénard said. Necessary arrangements have to be made for displaced persons to return to their homes and to participate in the electoral process, he added.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe and the Venice Commission will continue to support and closely monitor the electoral process and the setting-up of democratic institutions at local level.
President Chénard will continue with a visit to Skopje, stopping at Gjilan, and Zagreb, to discuss developments in local democracy and municipalities in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and in Croatia.
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Dmitri Marchenkov, Council of Europe Press Service
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