Tuesday, April 05, 2005

UK Gov. Response on the Foreign Affairs Committee Report - Remarks on Kosovo

We conclude that continued action to resolve the tensions in Kosovo is essential if the
international community is to establish effective state institutions and to reduce the
poisonous atmosphere of ethnic hatred in Kosovo. (Paragraph 100)
The Government agrees with the Committee’s assessment that continued action to resolve the
tensions in Kosovo is essential. For this reason, our current priority is sustaining momentum on implementation of Standards, particularly in the area of minority rights, to increase the likelihood of a positive mid-2005 Review. If positive, this assessment will pave the way for the longawaited process to determine Kosovo’s final status. DFID is providing technical assistance to the Prime Minister’s Office to support the co-ordination of standards implementation in line ministries and municipalities. We have commended the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) on progress made so far, making clear that this momentum must be sustained. We continue to encourage Belgrade to engage constructively. International partners have made clear that obstruction of progress by Belgrade will not be held against the PISG.
On 8 March, Ramush Haradinaj, resigned as Prime Minister, having received an indictment from the ICTY for alleged war crimes. On 23 March, Bajram Kosumi (AAK), was elected as the new Prime Minister. The UK will encourage his Government to maintain the momentum on
Standards implementation, in particular reaching out to Kosovo Serbs.
18. We conclude that reform of UNMIK is necessary to satisfy growing discontent with its
performance, most particularly in the economic arena, and we support Ambassador Kai Eide's suggestion of a two stage reform. However, we recommend that the Government urge UNMIK not to rush a transfer of competences if the indigenous capacity for administration is not in place. (Paragraph 105)
There was widespread recognition after March 2004 that reform of UNMIK was needed to make it more effective. We welcome steps by the Special Representative of the Secretary General’s to improve co-ordination and efficiency within UNMIK. We also welcome the efforts of the new head of Pillar IV to support the PISG’s work to develop Kosovo’s economy.
The Government has welcomed the Eide report and its recommendations that the UN needs to
pursue a more dynamic policy in Kosovo. We also agree that the EU should play a strong role in
Kosovo in support of the UN and its efforts and discussion is underway in the EU. For the time
being, we believe the EU should continue to focus on those areas where it can add value,
particularly on the economy, but we expect and welcome the leading role the EU will play in any
final status process.
We also welcome the transfer of competences to the PISG. The SRSG has in recent months set
up three new ministries for Energy, Local Self-Government and Returns and Communities.
While we agree that the transfer of competences needs to be carefully implemented, capacity
cannot be built without also handing over responsibility. The transitional phase must therefore be
one of partnership.
19. We conclude that Kai Eide's proposals to transfer competences to and broaden
consultation with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government are sensible and
could reduce local resentment of the international community in general and UNMIK
in particular. However, we also conclude that the recent events such as the selection of
Ramush Haradinaj as Prime Minister and the Serb boycott of elections for the Kosovo
Assembly have further polarised the political climate in Kosovo and could damage
efforts to transfer responsibilities in a peaceable manner. We recommend that the
Government work to strengthen moderate political forces in Kosovo, perhaps by
fostering ties with political and civil society organisations in the United Kingdom and
throughout Europe. (Paragraph 110)
The Government fully supports the progressive transfer of competences to the PISG. We agree
that the strengthening of political and civil society organisations is essential to Kosovo’s future
as a functioning democracy and we will continue providing support to this end, both bilaterally
and through our work with the UN, EU, OSCE and other international organisations and NGOs.
Following the October elections, which were judged to be free and fair by international monitors,
Ramush Haradinaj's AAK party entered into a coalition government with President Rugova's
LDK party. This government has made significant progress in standards implementation. For
example, former Prime Minister Haradinaj took the lead in reaching out to minority communities
by visiting the ethnically mixed municipality of Klina, and making clear to all municipality
leaders that they must encourage returns and promote freedom of movement. He also appointed
Slavisa Petkovic, a Kosovo Serb, as head of the new Ministry of Returns and Communities and
promised him full co-operation in driving the returns process forward. Following Haradinaj's
resignation, the UK will continue to work with the new Prime Minister, Bajram Kosumi, on
Standards implementation and working towards a multi-ethnic, democratic and stable Kosovo.
The Government agrees with the Committee's assessment that the very low turnout in the
October Kosovo Assembly elections by Kosovo Serbs, following calls for a boycott by Serbian
Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, was a disappointment. Non-participation was a mistake and
we have made clear that Kosovo Serbs can only hope to improve their lot if they participate in
the political life of Kosovo.
One of our priorities is to encourage Belgrade to play a constructive role in getting Kosovo Serbs
to engage e.g. in technical working groups and by taking up reserved seats in the Kosovo
Assembly. The six nation Contact Group (UK, US, France, Russia, Germany, Italy) and EU
representatives have made clear to Belgrade that obstruction by third parties will not be held
against the PISG. We will continue to look creatively for ways of encouraging the Kosovo Serbs
to engage.
20. We conclude that decentralisation of government is an excellent way to increase trust in
Kosovo's institutions. We recommend that the Government work to support Kai Eide's
proposals, and provide support for schemes improving inter-communal relations at a
low level such as the Gnijlane/Gjilan-Presevo-Kumanovo-Trgoviste (GPKT) project.
We also recommend that the Government along with its EU partners maintain pressure
on the Kosovo leadership to devolve government to the lowest level. (Paragraph 114)
The Government agrees with the Committee's conclusions on the importance of the
decentralisation process. The Contact Group expects concrete progress in this area and supports
the Framework Document for the Reform of Local Self-Government in Kosovo of 19 July 2004
and the plan for implementing this, which was agreed by the Kosovo Government on 24
February 2005. This includes five new pilot municipal units, in two of which Serbs are a
majority, and the progressive transfer to all municipalities of further competences. This takes
account of issues such as the protection of minority community rights and security and the need
to ensure better living conditions for all inhabitants in Kosovo. The Government expects these
plans to be taken forward by UNMIK and the Kosovo Government as soon as possible. The
Government is in principle happy to support projects to improve inter-communal relations. These
should complement the activities of the PISG, including the Ministry for Returns and
21. We conclude that the March riots revealed major deficiencies in the security arena.
However, we commend the work of the international community since then to reduce
the number of national caveats and the adoption of a system of reserves for KFOR, and
we recommend that the Government continue its work to reduce the remaining caveats
on troops. We also recommend that the Government encourage its NATO partners to
prepare KFOR for any eventuality which may provoke further instability in Kosovo.
(Paragraph 119)
The Government agrees with the FAC that the March 2004 riots revealed deficiencies and
demonstrated the clear need for improvements in international security capabilities in Kosovo.
As the FAC observe, progress has been made since in improving capabilities with the reduction
of caveats on KFOR troops, the adoption of a tactical reserve force, increased training especially
in crowd and riot control, and other measures. The NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer, has undertaken to continue to push for further improvements. We continue to work
hard with our NATO allies to further improve the capacity of KFOR (currently 17,000 troops),
including its co-ordination with the UNMIK police, so that it can respond effectively to any
eventuality. The Committee will have noted that NATO deployed reserves (including a British
battalion) to Kosovo in March 2005 to support KFOR’s ongoing efforts to provide a safe and
secure environment.
22. We conclude that the international community must do more to develop the Kosovo
Protection Corps (KPC) into a modern, democratically accountable force with minority
representation. We recommend that the Government call on its partners in NATO to
turn the KPC into a force complying with NATO standards, and to provide both
finance and personnel for training. (Paragraph 122)
The mandate of the Kosovo Protection Corps is as a civil emergency force (where NATO
standards would not be applicable). The Government agrees that the KPC currently has
problems with structures and financing. The UK provides the KPC Co-ordinator UK Major
General Balfour and supports him in developing the KPC in their civil emergency role, through
use of Global Conflict Prevention Pool Funds (GCPP). The UK has so far spent £450k (with a
further £150k approved) on a 'train the trainer' de-mining package, to establish KPC Mine Action
Teams. Each Mine Action Team is led by a member of the KPC, ensuring local ownership. This
project should provide Kosovo with an indigenous capacity in this area. In late March we will
be funding a £82k pilot project for fire and emergency rescue (including training in dealing with
serious road traffic accidents), in conjunction with the fire charity Op FLORIAN. Dependent
upon the outcome of the pilot, this project is likely to be extended. Further GCPP funds will be
deployed in this area over the coming year. We hope other nations will engage with us, and the
office of the KPC Co-ordinator, in supporting this work and on reform more generally of the
security sector in Kosovo. Future security arrangements will need to be discussed during the
final status process.
23. We conclude that policing is of the utmost importance for Kosovo's stability, for the
region and for the EU, but that much work needs to be done before Kosovo can stand
alone. The Government and its UN partners must increase their contribution to
policing in Kosovo, by working towards a more coherent international policing effort;
one means to do so might be for fewer states to focus on policing efforts, on the same
line as building capacity in the customs service. We also commend the work of the
OSCE police training school to establish a multi-ethnic police force, but stress that
much needs doing, such as training local police officers in modern investigative
techniques and ensuring Serb participation. (Paragraph 128)
The Government agrees that policing is vital to both the stability of Kosovo and indeed, to the
whole of the region. We are also aware of the direct negative effect of organised crime for the
Balkans on the streets of the UK. The Kosovo Police Service performed credibly during the
violence in March 2004 and is fully multi-ethnic, with 16% membership of ethnic minorities
(including 9% Serbs). But, of course more needs to be done before the KPS can stand alone.
The UK currently contributes 94 police officers to the UNMIK police and has also seconded 4
officers to the OSCE-run Kosovo Police Service School which has, as of 11 March 2005,
graduated 6,925 Police Officers. The UK has already been instrumental in establishing the
intelligence led policing capability in Kosovo, providing equipment, personnel and training. We
are also supporting the development of community policing through the Global Conflict
Prevention Pool. We will continue to provide assistance. More generally, the FCO has taken the
lead in developing a more coherent approach to the UK's policing contribution to international
missions, establishing a 'Strategic Task Force' at the beginning of 2005. Comprised of key
policing players across Whitehall and the wider Police Service, the Task Force is expected to
submit recommendations to Ministers in July.
24. We conclude that the trafficking of women and girls both to and through Kosovo is a
major problem, and that while the UNMIK initiatives are welcome, they do not go far
enough. We recommend that the Government work with the EU, US and UN to
establish a unified strategy on trafficking in women and girls, and that it encourage
UNMIK and KFOR to treat any links to trafficked women and girls by its personnel
with the utmost severity. We also recommend that the Government increase its
contribution to schemes for victims of trafficking, such as offering financial support to
refuges and NGOs in Kosovo dealing with the problem. (Paragraph 134)
We agree that human trafficking throughout the Western Balkans is a serious concern. Kosovo in
particular has become a transit and source country for the trafficking of women and girls. We
will continue to work with UNMIK, KFOR, EU and the OSCE in order to co-ordinate efforts to
combat this abhorrent crime. The Government agrees that KFOR troops, UNMIK personnel and
any others accused of trafficking should face full justice. We therefore welcome the recent
prosecutions of those found responsible.
The Government works to combat human trafficking through a wide range of actions, including
prevention in source and transit countries, co-operation with international partners, tackling
criminals though intelligence and enforcement operations and clamping down on the illegal
working and support of trafficking. As outlined in response number 23 above, the UK has 94
police officers in Kosovo, many of whom are attached to UNMIK’s specialist crime units. We
are currently working on strengthening awareness of trafficking and gender issues on their predeployment training. In 2004 we played a key role in the development of the first NATO policy to combat trafficking in human beings. The UK Government is also working to combat
organised crime including human trafficking in other countries within the region and is seeking
to fund similar anti-human trafficking projects in Kosovo. For example, in BiH, the FCO funded the provision of interview rooms to provide safe surroundings to victims of trafficking and encourage them to testify against the traffickers.
25. We conclude that the state of Kosovo's economy is a source of intense political
discontent, and that its problems in part stem from doubts about Kosovo's final status.
We also conclude that other serious problems, such as an ineffective judicial system,
endemic corruption, a scarcity of skilled professionals and the reduction of remittances
from Western Europe retard the growth of Kosovo's economy. We recommend that the
Government promote EU and UN schemes to revitalise Kosovo's economy, offer
expanded scholarship opportunities to Kosovans, and increase its contribution of
personnel to train people in Pristina, in areas such as accounting and the policing of
economic crime. (Paragraph 141)
The Government agrees with the Committee's conclusions that there is an urgent need for
progress on the economy. The Government also agrees with the recommendation to promote EU
and UN schemes to revitalise Kosovo's economy. The Government is therefore pleased that the
PISG agreed, following an FCO-funded Wilton Park conference, on 31 January 2005, to take
forward the drafting of an economic development plan. A PISG-owned medium-term strategy to
promote economic and social development in Kosovo is clearly essential. It will be important
that it is broad based, integrating development with progress towards European integration. The
Government through the EU and the UN will need to work closely with the PISG in helping
them to take this forward. The new Head of the UNMIK EU Pillar IV, Joachim Rucker, has
injected greater urgency into the privatisation process, which remains a key feature of Kosovo's
economic development. However, it is also important that the new PISG takes on more
responsibility for economic issues. We are considering with the International Financial
Institutions whether there is scope for a more comprehensive approach.
We already contribute specialist UK personnel to Kosovo institutions to provide training to help
combat financial crime and we will consider further opportunities. For example, a UK specialist
from HM Customs and Excise has been working in Kosovo to set up the Financial Information
Centre which deals in part with money-laundering. We note the Committee's recommendation to
expand scholarship opportunities for people from Kosovo and will also consider this.
26. We conclude that the international community must work to resolve the issue of
Kosovo's status as soon as possible, since deferring the decision will contribute to
growing tensions and make the province increasingly unstable and hostile to the
international community. (Paragraph 145)
The Government has noted the Committee's view that Kosovo is on an inevitable road to
independence. Independence is clearly one option to be considered. It is not for the UK to dictate Kosovo's future, nor can it be wrought unilaterally or by violence. We and our Contact Group Partners have made clear there will be no return to the pre-1999 situation. Kosovo's final status, whatever it is to be, must be negotiated, must be fair to all communities in Kosovo and must promote regional stability and multi-ethnicity. Belgrade will have a seat at the table, but no one party will be able to dictate the outcome.
The Contact Group has also made clear that a positive review of standards in mid-2005 would
lead to a process for deciding the future status of Kosovo in accordance with UNSCR1244
(1999). The outcome of the review is not a given. It depends on progress on the ground.
27. We endorse Kai Eide's proposals for combining standards and status, and agree that a
re-evaluation of the standards process is essential. However, we recommend that the
international community should not let the search for stability divert efforts from
establishing minority rights in Kosovo. We recommend that the Government make
clear to politicians in Kosovo that the fulfilment of human rights standards is a nonnegotiable
condition for progress towards status discussions, and that it urge its US and
EU partners to do the same. (Paragraph 150)
The Government welcomes the Committee support for Kai Eide's report which we endorsed on
its publication in August 2004. We are encouraging the UN to do more to address the Kosovo
population’s frustrations over the economy and lack of PISG powers. In a statement of 22
September 2004, the Contact Group also emphasised to the PISG that standards, particularly
those pertaining to the protection of minorities, freedom of movement and rule of law, are not
just a means to starting the status discussion. They are also key to improving the daily lives of all
people in Kosovo and will require ongoing work and commitment for many years to come.
28. We conclude that the scheme for decentralisation put forward by Belgrade would result
in an unacceptable transfer of population and could result in effective partition of
Kosovo. We recommend that the Government press on its interlocutors in Serbia that
their contributions must take into account the interests of the local population, as well
as the views of Pristina and the international community. (Paragraph 155)
We note the Committee's conclusions that the Belgrade Plan would be unacceptable. The
Government believes that the basis for decentralisation must be the UNMIK/PISG Framework
Document agreed in July 2004 and the Kosovo Government plan for implementing this, adopted on 22 February 2005. This includes a commitment to further discussion of ideas for local involvement in policing and the judicial system. However, the Government will continue to stress to the Serbian Government that they must look to work within existing structures rather
than try to create new ones, as the Minister for Europe, Dr MacShane emphasised to the House
of Commons on 4 May 2004 (Hansard Column 415WH):
'I find the proposals that have come forward from Belgrade in recent days very hard to
accept. From the British Government's point of view, those proposals are simply
unacceptable as formal policy. They may be a basis for discussion, but I have read, for
example, references to Serbs in Kosovo claiming entitlement "to parts of the territory that
links in a natural way Serb-dominated settlements, in which they previously did not make up
a majority". I really do not understand what that means. I saw a village that was made up of
completely contiguous Serb and Albanian parts, on the same road. The notion that they can
be separated, which is what seems to be indicated in the plan from Belgrade, simply will not
work. I understand the fears and the needs of the Serbs in Kosovo, but Belgrade must
discuss, in depth and continuously, its concerns with Pristina. Policies cannot be decided in
Belgrade or in New York and then announced as decrees to be obeyed. Dialogue is
29. We conclude that Kai Eide's proposal for increasing the role of the EU while the UN
scales back its operations in Kosovo is a good way forward, provided the EU establishes
a more cohesive policy towards Kosovo. We also conclude that such a process must
include the United States, given its popularity amongst Albanians, and take great
consideration of Kosovo Albanian and Serbian political sensibilities. We recommend
that the Government urge its partners in Brussels to formulate a long term plan for
expanding the EU's role in Kosovo, and in particular to outline how it intends to
advance this work when it holds the Presidency of the EU in the latter half of this year.
We also conclude that any resolution of the status issue must emerge from a dialogue
between Belgrade and Pristina and we recommend that the Government work with its
partners to establish a channel of communication between the two parties, perhaps by
establishing a EU or UN accredited diplomat as an envoy between the two cities.
(Paragraph 159)
The Government agrees that the EU should play a strong role in Kosovo in support of the UN
and its efforts and discussions are underway in the EU. UNSCR 1244 puts the UN in the lead.
We also agree that continued engagement of international partners, including the US, will be
vital. An international presence, both civilian and military, will be required for sometime after
any status settlement to oversee implementation. We have made this clear to our EU and NATO
The Government also agrees that a channel of communication between Belgrade and Pristina
will be important. We welcome therefore the re-launching of the Belgrade-Pristina Working
Group on missing persons which met on 16 March. We will consider the Committee's
recommendation that the UN Secretary General should, if the Review is positive, appoint a
Special Envoy for this purpose.
30. We conclude that success in Kosovo is crucial to stability in south eastern Europe, and
that the international community must tread a delicate path between the claims of the
various parties in order to resolve the status issue. We further conclude that it is
unrealistic to expect the international community to continue to shoulder the
responsibility of governing Kosovo indefinitely and we agree with Kai Eide that Kosovo
is on the path to independence. We recommend that the Government acknowledge this
reality and work with its international partners to bring about an independent Kosovo
with full safeguards and protection of the rights of the Serb minority. (Paragraph 160)
The Government fully supports the Committee's assertion that success in Kosovo is crucial to
stability in South Eastern Europe. However, international community policy, in accordance with
UN Security Council Resolution 1244, is that the process to determine Kosovo’s final status will begin only once sufficient progress has been made against the UN-endorsed Standards. The outcome of the mid-2005 Review is not a given, so our current focus must be on sustained
19 implementation of Standards. We do, however, agree that any final settlement must be
consistent with the principle of a stable, democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo. The Contact
Group statement of 22 September 2004 affirmed that there can be no return to Kosovo’s pre-
1999 situation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The office of the KPC Coordinator has never supported the KPC in their civil emergency role.

Since the position has been taken over by an active duty British Major General (currently third generation) their sole visible purpose has been to repeat entry level training.

Over 32 million Euros has been spent from 2000 through 2004 and what does the KPC have to show, ZERO!

Let us not forget the Director of the Office of the KPC Coordinator makes all decisions in reference to the KPC. KPC commander LTG Ceku reports to the British General and as we all know he reports to the British Mission in Kosovo. It is important that we establish and understand the clear lines in the chain of command. KPC fall under the Director of the Office of the KPC Coordinator in all matters including budget approval, conduct, etc…

How can the KPC Coordinator ever think of being effective if the only internationals he hires never served on any national emergency management staff? We know as a matter of fact every American who ever applied was never even concerned, even if he was an ex-city chief of police or held a PhD or had over 25 years in emergency management holding position at both federal and local government levels. Well their just only over qualified Americans!

Instead, he hired internationals with little to no experience at the required levels opting for basic fire fighters, police, etc… But they aren’t American’s and they have loyalties to us the British; so that’s a major point in their favor. Besides are we really here to develop the KPC into a civil emergency organization? 32 million EURO and five years later says absolutely not! But we can always blame IOM (LOL).

- Five years later and 32 million EURO short and still no national incident management system

- Five years later and 32 million EURO short and still no incident command posts

- Five years later and 32 million EURO short and still no qualified medical responders

- Five years later and 32 million EURO short and still no properly trained HQ staff(s)

- Five years later and 32 million EURO short and still no one to care!

I wonder if the British MG is double dipping, a military paycheck and an UNMIK paycheck how much a month is that for not producing results.

I wonder why they decided on a British MG over a real Emergency Manager to head the office.

Not to worry we can always blame the Americans and IOM!