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Reaching UN targets essential for determining Kosovo's future - Security Council

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Backing the individual benchmarks and targets set by the United Nations, the Security Council today welcomed the progress made in the province in 2002 and voiced its support for the UN's continued efforts in improving the economy and reducing the level of crime.
In a wide-ranging statement read out by its President at a formal meeting, the Council reiterated its full support for the "Standards before Status" policy, which sets targets in eight key areas: the functioning of the democratic institutions, the rule of law, freedom of movement, the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, the economy, property rights, dialogue with Belgrade, and the Kosovo Protection Corps.

"The fulfilment of these targets is essential to commencing a political process designed to determine Kosovo's future, in accordance with resolution 1244," said Ambassador Gunter Pleuger of Germany, which holds the rotating Presidency of the 15-nation body. "The Council strongly rejects unilateral initiatives which may jeopardize stability and the normalization process not only in Kosovo but also in the entire region."

The Council also reaffirmed its commitment to "the objective of a multiethnic and democratic Kosovo and calls upon all communities to work towards this goal and actively participate in the public institutions as well as the decision-making process, and integrate into society."

The statement condemned the violence within the Kosovo Albanian community, as well as the violence against the Kosovo Serb community, urging local institutions and leaders to exert influence on the climate for the rule of law by condemning all violence and actively supporting the efforts of the police and the judiciary. "The Council stresses that all communities must make renewed efforts to inject momentum into improving inter-ethnic dialogue and promoting the reconciliation process, not least through full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia," Ambassador Pleuger said.

The statement also called for the authority of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to be respected throughout the province, and welcomed the establishment of its authority in the northern part of Mitrovica.