Friday, April 01, 2005

Kosovo paper looks into possible replacement of UNMIK chief

Excerpt from report by Augustin Palokaj: "Work being done on clarifying roles before start of debate on Kosovo status", published by Kosovo Albanian newspaper Koha Ditore on 31 March

Brussels, 30 March: A lot of ambiguity has been created lately regarding the roles of certain international diplomats in the process of defining Kosova's [Kosovo] status and the phase to initiate negotiations. The media have lately speculated about the possibility of Soeren Jessen-Petersen's departure and appointment of Kai Eide as UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] chief. As a matter of fact, even though Jessen-Petersen and Eide have refuted the media reports, they have not succeeded in fully clarifying the situation. Meanwhile, according to well-informed sources in Brussels, neither Jessen-Petersen's departure nor a role of Ambassador Eide in Kosova can be ruled out.

Even though UNMIK in Kosova tries to leave the impression that Jessen-Petersen does not plan to leave Kosova, the fact that he has accepted the nomination by his government in Denmark for the post of UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees] chief shows that he will leave Kosova if he is appointed to this post. If Jessen-Petersen did not want to leave Kosova, he would have refused the nomination in the first place. [Passage omitted]

While diplomats claim that Jessen-Petersen is doing an excellent job in Kosova, they also say that the process of appointing a new UNHCR chief can last at least until mid-summer, and that after an eventual appointment the new commissioner would start work in autumn. Under such circumstances, it could happen that Jessen-Petersen would leave Kosova in autumn.

Norwegian Ambassador to NATO Kai Eide has refuted information that he is interested in replacing Jessen-Petersen at the helm of UNMIK, but officials in Brussels claim he is a serious candidate for another important post in Kosova. The same diplomats say that sometime around the end of May, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to appoint a special envoy for the comprehensive review of Standards [for Kosovo] implementation, and Eide is still the main candidate for this post.

In case of a positive review of Standards implementation, the UN will also appoint a special envoy to prepare negotiations on Kosova's status. Anonymous diplomatic sources in Brussels say that this should be a high-profile diplomat, a former prime minister. Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt are among the names mentioned for this post. [Passage omitted]

Although US officials have said nothing publicly about this matter so far, diplomatic circles in Brussels have told Koha Ditore that Washington could also be expected to appoint its special envoy for the status of Kosova. This was even recently reported by the Washington Post . [Passage omitted]

According to EU and NATO diplomats, Washington would appoint a special envoy for the phase of negotiations to prove to Prishtina [Pristina] and Belgrade that the issue of Kosova's status is a high priority. "If a US special envoy is appointed for Kosova, he could act as a deputy to the UN special envoy on the issue of status," said diplomats in Brussels. [Passage omitted]

Source: Koha Ditore, Pristina, in Albanian 31 Mar 05 p 3

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