Sunday, February 20, 2005

Kosovo premier says work prevents attendance at UNSC meeting

Kosova [Kosovo] Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj will definitely not go to New York on 24 February, when SRSG [Special Representative of Secretary General] Soeren Jessen-Petersen is expected to report to the UN Security Council on the latest situation in Kosova. This was the main news that these two presented to journalists after their regular meeting at the Kosova government's headquarters on Friday [17 February].

The Kosova prime minister's comprehensive and very important agenda in the coming week was given as the only reason for not going, following the "official invitation" that is reported to have been made to the prime minister by head administrator Jessen-Petersen.

"The Kosova prime minister's departure to New York will not happen. I will be staying in Prishtina to continue my work, my activities, with the needed dynamics for the assessment of Standards. We will have important visits and I have to be here," Haradinaj said, mentioning this as an issue that interests everyone.

Meanwhile, head administrator Jessen-Petersen expressed his respect for the Kosova prime minister's decision.

"I respect the prime minister's decision to stay in Kosova and deal with decentralization, meet municipal chairmen and the Economic Fiscal Council [EFC], and deal with a very comprehensive and very important agenda here," Jessen-Petersen stated.

"I will be there and we will have a very close cooperation with the prime minister of Kosova," he said.

"I am not saying no to New York, but Kosova will be represented there by head administrator Jessen-Petersen and I have total confidence that he will do this in the worthiest manner," Haradinaj said when asked to give the main reason for refusing the invitation to New York.

He said that very soon in Kosova there would be a key report, on which the political assessment of Standards would depend.

"We have a very busy week and the days ahead are not enough; therefore, we have to make the most of them," Haradinaj stated.

In addition, he also mentioned the government's meeting, the Kosova Assembly session, when the budget will be adopted, the process of assuming powers in the Economic Fiscal Council, and evaluation of the work of working groups on Standards as reasons for not travelling to New York.

"The important thing is that Kosova is being represented; the process is moving ahead and there will be situations and moments when we will represent Kosova. But the key issue for us is how to work now until the next assessment," the prime minister stated.

Haradinaj would have been only Jessen-Petersen's companion in New York

"Although I would want Haradinaj to represent Kosova, unfortunately he would not be able to address the UN Security Council. This is clear," Jessen-Petersen stated when asked if Haradinaj's trip would be understood as unblocking the institutions because this would be the first time that the Kosovo prime minister would have travelled abroad.

"I believe that I represent Kosova there and this should be clear," he stressed.

"The most important thing is that you have heard how important the Kosova agenda is in the coming week and it can move ahead better if the prime minister is here," he concluded.

"I believe I can help the process by reporting realistically on the progress that has been made in Kosova," he added.

"But nobody can replace the prime minister here. He has to work here. I cannot replace him, either," Jessen-Petersen stated again, trying to justify Prime Minister Haradinaj's decision not to travel with him to New York.

"I hope one day prime minister will replace me in New York"

"I hope that one day the prime minister will replace me in New York," Jessen-Petersen stated.

"For the time being, the agenda is such that does not allow the prime minister to come with me," he repeated.

"There is no need to speculate. The prime minister said exactly why he was not going to New York. I appeal to you to look at the facts which were presented and try to think if this might be in Kosova's interest. Not all of us can be there. The prime minister stays here to continue the processes," the SRSG told the journalists.

"There I would have been only Jessen-Petersen's companion," was how Haradinaj tried to minimize the importance of his failed trip.

"Given that we have confidence that he will present our work in the way we have worked, it is important for us to continue the process," Haradinaj concluded.

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