Thursday, June 23, 2005

UNMIK introduces new entry policy for foreigners in Kosovo

All dailies cover the decision made by the international administration to introduce a new policy for the entrance of foreigners in Kosovo.

Koha Ditore notes that the UN Mission has refused to refer to the new measures as a visa regime. According to the regulation for better control of Kosovo’s borders, all foreign nationals must ask for an authorisation to stay in Kosovo.

Zëri quotes Head of the Legal Policy Unit in the Department of Justice, Annamyriam Roccatello, as saying that from 1 July, the border police will ask every person who is not a resident of Kosovo about the purpose of their visit to Kosovo.

Roccatello also said the violation of the provisions of the Regulation will constitute a minor offence punishable by a fine up to 1,000 euros, a term of imprisonment of up to 30 days and/or an order to leave Kosovo for a period of 6 months to 3 years.

On the same issue, Express says, ‘it will be similar to a visa but will be called a stamp of the international administration that will be placed in the passports of foreign nationals that enter Kosovo from 1 July’.

The paper also notes that the new border regime does not apply to residents of Albania and Macedonia, staff members of international organisations and diplomatic liaison offices in Kosovo.

‘This new legislation introduces measures aimed at improving border controls primarily directed at combating organized crime operations and human trafficking. It is not meant to create obstacles for legitimate travelers and will simply formalize the practice adopted by UNMIK border police until now,’ Roccatello is quoted as saying in the press.

The front-page headlines in Epoka e Re and Express say that entry to Kosovo will become complicated from 1 July.

Koha Ditore recalls that the issue of better border management was misunderstood by Macedonian media and triggered a debate between Macedonian and Kosovan authorities because it was viewed as a visa regime. The Macedonians had warned that they would review their position toward Kosovo and apply even harsher measures for Kosovans, however, this was avoided.

Asked to comment on the differences with Macedonian authorities, Roccatello was quoted as saying, ‘Several meetings have been held and contacts established with the Macedonian authorities to clarify the implementation of the regulation and I trust that there is no problem on that side. As I said, Macedonian citizens will be entering Kosovo on the sole basis of their passports.’

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So as a holder of a Yugoslav passport do I have to get a stamp too? I am Kosovar :)

See how slowly but surely we are becoming a state.

Now all Kosovars will have to move to UNMIK passports, that will increase pressure on the UN to make Kosovar travel documents more acceptable, thus moving futher away from the clutches of Serbia.