The head of the UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] to Kosova [Kosovo], Soeren Jessen-Petersen, said today that he could not hide the fact that the time wasted on forming the new government should have been spent on decentralization. He also said that the Contact Group should be leaving Kosova with good impressions, because Kosova had been moving towards the evaluation of the Standards and talks on status this autumn.
Jessen-Petersen made these comments in Prishtina after a meeting with Kosova Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi. It was announced that they had discussed, among other things, the visit of the Contact Group, the dialogue on missing persons, decentralization, and so forth.
The UNMIK head described the visit by the Contact Group to Prishtina as very important. According to him, it had come at a very important moment for Kosova. He said: "The Contact Group should leave Kosova with very good impressions in that we have been moving forward towards the evaluation of the Standards and talks on the status this autumn."
Jessen-Petersen announced that the priority of the Contact Group meetings was going to be the Standards and their fulfilment. He said that, currently, Kosova is working on technical evaluation of the Standards for the UN Security Council.
"The Contact Group will want to learn from the prime minister about the Standards. They also will want to hear about decentralization," Jessen-Petersen said.
The chief of UNMIK said that during the meeting with Prime Minister Kosumi he had expressed his concern over the developments surrounding Ramush Haradinaj's resignation and surrender to the Hague Tribunal and the time that was wasted on the formation of the new government which, according to him, had resulted in losing the momentum on decentralization.
Jessen-Petersen expressed his conviction that the meetings of the decentralization board were going to make very important decisions and that the government was going to show a very strong commitment to the pilot projects and to other projects, such as laws, finances, and powers that have to do with this process.
According to him, the most important thing is not to lag behind and for the Contact Group to understand that decentralization is a top priority issue for the government and the prime minister.
Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi said that there had been some delay in the decentralization process because of the developments in Kosova following the indictment of Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj but, according to him, there would be no backtracking on the concept regarding this issue.
"Decentralization will begin as a process, including the process of local government reform, which are two notions closely linked to one another. All this will begin in pilot municipalities, and the reason for that is very practical and very pragmatic," Kosumi said.
The Kosova prime minister said that he was very certain that a consensus exists on the issue of decentralization.