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Visit of Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo

At a critical time for Kosovo, the Special Represenative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo, Mr Soren Jessen-Petersen, visited NATO HQ on 12 July to hold discussions with NATO Secretary General, Mr Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Talks have started on the future status of this province, which has been under the administration of the international community since 1999.

Moving the political process forward

At a joint press conference with Mr Jessen-Petersen, Mr de Hoop Scheffer insisted on the fact that NATO was still in Kosovo, on the ground, to assist the political process that is currently underway. He also made a plea to local politicians to moderate their language when speaking in public.

Both Mr Jessen-Petersen and Mr de Hoop Scheffer stressed the importance of the participation of Kosovo Serbs in the political process and shared their concern over standards implementation in three key areas: decentralisation, the return of refugees and freedom of movement.

Mr Jessen-Petersen thanked NATO for its continued commitment in Kosovo, stating that "KFOR is indeed doing a superb job in maintaining a safe and secure environment. And that is the foundation for the political process to move forward".

However, he said, "As we get closer the political stakes are rising. And with the political stakes rising we are seeing tension rising and we are seeing risks increasing. And in that situation more than ever we have to work closely together, UNMIK and KFOR, with the local authorities, to make sure that the stable and secure environment is there, and thanks to this close collaboration I think we have seen significant improvement in the security situation over the last 12, 15 months, despite incidents which are, of course, worrying and which we're working on".