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UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK): 12 Jan 2000

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UN envoy, Kosovo Transitional Council, condemn murder of Bosniak family: Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner and the Kosovo Transitional Council (KTC) today condemned the brutal murder of four members of a Bosniak family in Prizren on Monday. In a statement issued in Pristina, Dr. Kouchner described the attack as "an irreparable crime against a family, against the national community of the Bosniaks and against Kosovo itself". Expressing shock and outrage, members of the KTC strongly condemned the ruthless attack on the defenceless family in a statement issued after their meeting today in Pristina. "The KTC uses this tragic occasion to renew its commitment to work to an end to violence in Kosovo and towards tolerance and the protection of minorities," the statement said.

The Bosniak family was murdered when killers entered the family's home and shot everyone, including the husband and wife, their 20-year-old daughter and a 70-year-old grandmother. UNMIK Police are investigating.

Pristina airport reopens for civilian traffic: Kosovo's Pristina Slatina airport reopened yesterday for civilian aircraft, nearly two months after it was closed following the crash of a UN chartered plane on 12 November killing all on board. The airport, operated by KFOR, was closed on 20 November as a precautionary measure. The French team investigating the crash recommended that a review of the procedures and terminology in use at the military airfield and how they differed from the civilian equivalent. A team from the International Civil Aviation Organization carried out a full survey of the airfield. KFOR spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Philip Anido said the airfield is open initially as a strictly daytime visual flight rules operations.

KTC continues discussion of membership expansion: The Kosovo Transitional Council (KTC) continued in its meeting today to discuss the possibility of expanding its membership to include minority members, representatives of smaller Kosovo political parties and members of civil society. The head of UNMIK, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, informed the KTC that he would submit for their approval at their next meeting a list of potential candidates for the enlarged Council. Comparing the KTC to an interim parliament without legislative powers, he noted the important role the KTC would play until free, fair and internationally supervised elections are held.

Kosovo's electricity production down to 110 megawatts: Following the fire that broke out on Monday night, the only power being produced in Kosovo is from Kosovo A power plant's Unit 4, which is putting out 110 megawatts, UNMIK reported today. Kosovo is importing another 120 or 130 megawatts of electricity, mostly from Serbia, but Macedonian officials are working with UNMIK to enable additional power from Greece to cross their grid and enter Kosovo. The damage caused by the fire on Monday night is being assessed. Once the assessment has been completed, repairs will take a minimum of one week, according to the power company, KEK. Kosovo B power plant's Unit 2, which has been down for repairs for the past week, should be operational by this weekend, giving Kosovo another 250 megawatts of power, UNMIK spokeswoman Susan Manuel said. She said there was a critical need for diesel fuel to start up other units of Kosovo A and to maintain operations should coal feeding fail. A train carrying 400 tons of diesel will arrive today from Macedonia, and another unit at Kosovo A should be on line by tomorrow, she added.

Power rationing has been introduced and the rotation schedule of electricity throughout Kosovo is now in periods of two hours on and four hours off. Essential facilities such as hospitals have a more steady supply. UNMIK is checking on reports of areas which are still not getting power at all.

The Pristina heating plant is also not working, due initially to a lack of electricity but now of water, Ms. Manuel said.

Border crossing with Macedonia closed: UNMIK Police today received information that the Globocica border crossing with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been closed by Macedonian authorities. There were no details on why the border has been closed, police said. Traffic moving south on the General Jankovic border crossing has been reduced significantly due to unknown reasons on the Macedonian side of the border, the police further reported.

Recruitment for police cadets to start on 18 January: UNMIK Police said today that the testing for recruitment for the third class of police cadets starts on 18 January in the Prizren region. The list of applicants who have been short-listed for testing and the dates for the tests will be displayed on notice boards at all UNMIK Police stations and regional headquarters.

Mobile telephone equipment arrives in Pristina: The first equipment for Kosovo's mobile phone system has arrived in Pristina, UNMIK said today. Additional equipment is expected to arrive today. Kosovars should be able to make calls over the Alcatel system in the first week of February, using, pre-paid cards which will be available in local stores. The first pre-paid cards will cost about 20 deutsche mark (about $10). Later, a subscription system will be introduced.

UNMIK initiates systematic planning of gender-related activities: The Gender Advisory Unit of UNMIK facilitated today the first high-level planning meeting on gender issues, with senior officials from UNMIK and representatives from UNHCR, OSCE and the European Union. Known as the Gender Strategic Planning Group, the participants identified gender issues that needed attention in Kosovo, including the representation of women in political decision-making processes, the participation of women in economic recovery and the protection of women's human rights, including problems related to violence against women, trafficking and prostitution of women.