Mitrovice [Kosovska Mitrovica], 16 August: Interethnic tolerance and understanding continues to increase in Mitrovica's municipality, and there is optimism that, along with the definition of Kosova's [Kosovo] status, Mitrovica's problem would be solved, meaning that the city would integrate, and its citizens would live in their own properties in peace and coexistence.
Dr Sadije Asllani-Bilalli, director of the Directorate for Health and Social Welfare in the municipal assembly of Mitrovica, made this comment during a meeting with her German guests, Angelika Beer, member of the European Parliament, engaged in Balkan relations, and Peter Mathiesen, an expert for Balkan politics.
Dr Bilalli told her guests that the main activities of Municipal Assembly and its departments this year were related to the return of the displaced. According to her, the results achieved in the return of Serbs and other minorities should not be underestimated. D.r Bilalli also assessed that nothing was done for the return of Albanians to their properties in the northern part of the city due to the resistance of Serb extremists.
She also said that the economic-social situation in the municipality is very difficult, and Mitrovica is currently one of the poorest municipalities in Kosova. Around 6.000 families in Mitrovica, receive social assistance. Due to many problems, mainly of political and economical nature, the municipality has not developed at all, Bilalli said, and added that no industrial capacity has been activated. [Passage omitted]
According to Dr Bilalli, the situation in Mitrovica's municipality is calm and without any major problems, even though "Serb extremists have been causing interethnic tensions recently".
Angelica Beer, member of European Parliament, said that she is satisfied with what she heard about the achievements for implementing the projects for return of minorities, something that could not even be imagined immediately after the war. She also expressed her satisfaction for the fact that interethnic tolerance is increasing, adding that "the situation in Mitrovica is good news".
Source: KosovaLive web site, Pristina, in English 16 Aug 05