Ethnic violence erupts in Kosovo: Ethnic violence erupted yesterday in Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, leaving at least four dead and 20 injured, UNMIK said today. Among those killed were at least two Albanians and two Turks. Ten UN vehicles were burned or destroyed. The spate of violence comes less than two days after the rocket attack on a UNHCR bus to Mitrovica, which killed two Serbs and wounded three others.
Mitrovica remains tense and KFOR has imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. UN and NGO staff in Mitrovica have been put under KFOR protection, and 20 UNMIK Serb local staff has been brought home to the northern side of the city where they will stay until further notice. UNHCR has suspended its operations in northern Mitrovica and relocated staff to the southern side of the city. The agency estimates there are 4,000 to 4,500 Albanians still living in northern Mitrovica, but many have fled to the southern sector.
Four administrative departments formally established: The Interim Administrative Council today formally established four administrative departments of the Joint Interim Administrative Structure. The departments are Education and Science, Health & Social Welfare, Budget & Finance (renamed Central Fiscal Authority), and Local Administration. The Council also agreed on the competencies of the administrative departments and named the co-heads for 10 departments. In addition, the Council agreed on the enlarged Kosovo Transitional Council.
Four airlines operate at Pristina airport: Four commercial airlines are operating at Pristina Slatina Airport, opened to civilian aircraft on 11 January. UNMIK said the airlines are Adria Airways from Slovenia, Albanian Airlines, Ada Air from Albania and Avioimpex from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Montenegro Airlines will start serving Pristina on 12 February. Negotiations are continuing with other airlines to open routes to Pristina including CrossAir from Switzerland and Tyrolean Air of Austria who had previously been flying to Pristina. UNMIK said equipment for instrument landing is in place and runway lights are being installed. Instrument landing is expected to be operational in March.
European Commission Task Force winds up: The European Commission Task Force for the Reconstruction of Kosovo wound up today, EU spokeswoman Irene Mingasson said. It will be replaced by the European Agency for Reconstruction on Monday. The Task Force has been operating as the provider of EU funds to the reconstruction of Kosovo. Over the seven months of its existence, it has provided 134.5 million euro (about $132 million) for projects and the results are visible throughout the territory, said Ms. Mingasson.
For further information, contact the Spokesman's Office: tel (212) 963-7161/2; fax (212) 963-7055.