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Kosovo Transitional Council Discusses Security Situation of Minority Communities in Kosovo

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UNMIK/PR/193
Pristina - The Kosovo Transitional Council (KTC) at its regular meeting today issued a statement "expressing its deep concern at the continuing difficult security situation affecting all people in Kosovo in particular members of minority communities".

"We reaffirm our commitment that all citizens and communities in Kosovo shall enjoy equal rights.

"We call on all citizens in Kosovo to interact in a peaceful and tolerant way with each other. We reaffirm the right of all people to return to their homes. In this respect, we call on the international community and political leaders in Kosovo to facilitate the return of Albanians, Serbs and members of other minority communities to their homes in Kosovo. We underline the importance that Albanian refugees from the Preshevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja area can peacefully return to their homes.

"The KTC underlines the importance of establishing functioning institutions to lay the basis for a society where values of tolerance and equality can be secured. It will be key to urgently build a functioning judicial system. The local elections planned for this year will play an important role."

The KTC also "urgently called on the political representatives of the Kosovo Serbs to return to the Joint Interim Administrative Structure (JIAS) to work together with representatives of other communities to establish co-existence and to lay the foundations for a genuine multi-ethnic society."

In a separate statement issued after the meeting, the KTC also condemned the sentence by the district court of Nis, Serbia, of Mr. Albin Kurti, Kosovo Albanian student union leader, to fifteen years of imprisonment.

"The KTC is convinced that the conviction of Mr. Kurti was unfounded and based on political considerations rather than on evidence. The KTC reiterates its demand expressed in an appeal to the Security Council on 23 February, that all Kosovo prisoners detained in Serbia shall immediately be released or handed over to UNMIK for their release or trial, as appropriate."

SRSG Bernard Kouchner, in briefing the KTC on his meeting with the UN Security Council on 6 March, said that the UN Secretary General had agreed to send a special envoy for missing persons and detainees to Yugoslavia. He said that the High Commissioner for Human Rights would nominate the person soon.

In other business, the KTC discussed the boundaries of municipalities and the plans for establishing a working group on minorities.

For information only-not an official record

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