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"Good progress" made by UN mission in Kosovo but security concerns remain: Secretary-General

United Nations mission in Kosovo has made "good progress" over the past six months in implementing its mandate, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in his latest report to the Security Council released today at UN Headquarters in New York.
Mr.Annan called the demilitarization of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) "an important step forward," but raised concern about the security situation for Kosovo Serbs, Roma and other minority groups.

Despite the efforts of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), "the level and nature of the violence in Kosovo, especially against vulnerable minorities, remains unacceptable," he said.

The Secretary-General said that more resources were needed to allow for a rapid deployment of international police officers and increased support for the Kosovo Police Service. He also recommended the strengthening of the judiciary and penal system, warning that a "strong response" was needed to address the problem of "unofficial law-enforcement actors" that had been reported to operate within the area.

According to the report, at least 810,000 refugees have returned to their homes, and efforts have increased to provide emergency housing rehabilitation. Most of the occupants of the 50,000 houses deemed beyond repair are living with host families for the winter season, Mr. Annan said.

The Security Council is expected to consider the report in its consultations on Wednesday.

Meanwhile in Pristina, the Interim Administrative Council unanimously condemned the "violent attack" committed in Vitina yesterday, when assailants had thrown grenades into a Serb pub, injuring at least 10 people. The Council, which held its third meeting, also discussed the draft regulation on establishing the Joint Interim Administrative Structure.