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UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK): 31 Mar 2000

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Developments today, 31 March 2000 - Updated 3:30 p.m. EST
Civilian administration

Local government established in nearly three-quarters of Kosovo: Local government has been established in nearly three-quarters of Kosovo with municipal councils operating in 22 of the territory's 30 municipalities, according to a statement issued by UNMIK following today's meeting of the Interim Administrative Council (IAC). The municipal councils -- advisory bodies to the local administration -- have begun to meet regularly, addressing major issues of concern to the local population. UNMIK administrators, who chair the councils, rely heavily upon their advice in taking decisions which affect the local population, the UNMIK statement said.

The statement said the councils in the remaining municipalities should be established in the next few weeks. The councils are set up after consultations with representatives of political parties and communities in the municipalities and are intended to be pluralistic, inclusive and broadly representative of the population. Briefing the IAC, co-heads Blanca Antonini and Rame Buja of the Department of Local Government noted that the main obstacle to the establishment of local government has been the enmity dividing Albanian and Serb communities and the related security situation.

UNMIK Police reports murder of a Bosniac: UNMIK police today reported that a Bosnian male was shot and killed near Novo Selo, outside Peja. Police said the victim was a truck driver who was using a bypass road, which avoided the UNMIK tax collection point. No witnesses or suspects have been identified and UNMIK police is looking together with KFOR into reinforcing security around the tax collection point.

UNMIK police also reported that yesterday in Pristina two Kosovar prisoners who escaped from the Pristina detention centre on 11 February surrendered themselves to the police. One of the prisoners had been arrested for armed robbery and the other for aggravated assault and weapons possession. In Prizren, police yesterday arrested an Albanian male on charges of rape, connected to a crime, which allegedly took place in November 1999.

For further information, contact the Spokesman's Office: tel (212) 963-7161/2; fax (212) 963-7055.