Kosovo to launch civil registration in readiness for elections: UNMIK is taking a major step in the reconstruction of Kosovo with the launch of civil registration later this month. In a statement issued today, UNMIK said that the registration is essential in providing public services to all residents and in building an accurate voter registration list in readiness for local elections to be held later this year. To be listed as a Kosovo resident and to receive an identity card, applicants must be born in Kosovo or have at least one parent born in Kosovo; or they must prove they have lived in Kosovo for a continuous period of at least five years. Applicants can also qualify if it can be determined that they were removed by force from Kosovo and were unable to meet the residency requirements; or if they are dependent children of adults who qualify and are attending full-time a recognized educational institution.
People not living in Kosovo can register to vote, but they must show that they were resident in Kosovo on or before 1 January 1998. They must also prove their identity and residency through documentation. The Joint Registration Task Force is setting up Municipal Documentation Centres to assist those who have no official papers or documents. People whose applications for registration are denied will have the right to appeal their cases to a Civil Registrar.
Central Elections Commission to oversee elections: A Central Elections Commission will oversee the elections to be held in Kosovo by the end of this year. The Commission will consist of 12 members, nine of whom will be Kosovars, and three internationals. The nine Kosovar members will be nominated by the four Kosovar Interim Administration Council political parties, the Serb community and two minority representatives from the Turkish and Bosniac communities, as well as three independents nominated by nongovernmental organizations, the academia and the media.
UNMIK to issue travel documents: All those who register at the forthcoming civil registration may at the same time apply for a UNMIK travel document. Adults will pay 60 deutsche marks ($3.20) and children 30 deutsche marks ($1.60) for the falsification-proof travel document, which is expected to be acceptable in the neighbouring countries, and EU countries that are signatories of the Schengen Treaty.
Kosovo to launch new "peace" postage stamps: UNMIK will issue tomorrow a set of five postage stamps designed around the theme "Peace in Kosovo". UNMIK spokeswoman Susan Manuel said the launch of the stamp series is a significant step forward in restoring communication within Kosovo. Mail service inside Kosovo will begin this week, through the Post & Telecommunications of Kosovo, and international service should be available in mid-May, she said. UNMIK has opened 80 of 130 Kosovo post offices, employing 700 staff, with funding from the European Agency for Reconstruction. The agency will donate 60 vehicles to the Kosovo postal service in late April.
Kosovo power plant shuts down for repairs: The Kosovo Electric Company today shut down Unit 1 of Kosovo B power plant for repairs, UNMIK reported today. This unit had been the major producer of electrical power in Kosovo over the past several months, generating up to 250 megawatts. The company expects to restart the unit early next week. UNMIK said agreements have been reached with neighboring power companies to increase their electricity exports to Kosovo.
EU representative to visit Pristina: The EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Javier Solana, will tomorrow visit Pristina to meet with the head of UNMIK, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, UNMIK pillar heads and the KFOR commander, General Klaus Reinhardt. Mr. Javier Solana will also meet with members of the Interim Administrative Council, the independent members of the Kosovo Transitional Council and Archbishop Artemije of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
UNMIK Police reports four murders over the weekend: UNMIK police today reported four murders and several cases of arson and explosive attacks over the weekend. There was a double murder yesterday involving two families in Dobrosevac, near Glogovac. Two Kosovo Albanian suspects have been arrested. Also yesterday, a Serb was found murdered in the Pec/Peja region, shot in the head in Kulina. On Saturday, a Serb man was found shot dead, three kilometres north of Pristina. The police reported several arson fires over the weekend in Pristina, Kosovo Polje and in Gnjilane, mostly involving minority-owned property. In Vitina, an explosion damaged an Albanian-owned building. In Prizren, a hand grenade was thrown into a café on Saturday. Grenade attacks were also reported in the Serb and Roma quarters of Prizren over Saturday night. In Pec/Peja, six mortar bombs exploded near the Roma village of Fidaje on Friday. No damage or injuries were reported.
New UN administrator appointed for Mitrovica: Retired United States national, General William Nash, has been appointed the next UNMIK Regional Administrator for Mitrovica, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard confirmed today. General Nash succeeds Mr. Mario Morcone of Italy whose contract expired and has returned to home. Meanwhile, UNMIK strongly protested an article published in "Koha Ditore" today maligning Mr. Morcone. UNMIK spokeswoman Susan Manuel said Mr. Morcone was a much-respected administrator who did a remarkable job in a short period of time to defuse tensions and to return Kosovo Albanians to their homes in northern Mitrovica. "He was admired by community leaders and by ordinary people on both sides of the line in Mitrovica," she said.
For further information, contact the Spokesman's Office: tel (212) 963-7161/2; fax (212) 963-7055.