Text of report in English by independent internet news agency KosovaLive
Prishtina [Pristina], 31 Dec (KosovaLive) - The head of UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo], Soren Jessen-Petersen, from his homeland, Denmark, has sent his wishes for the New Year to Kosova [Kosovo] citizens, expressing his belief that 2006 will see finalization of the status process.
"We are at the end of one momentous year for Kosova and the beginning of another. The past twelve months, like every year, have had their ups and their downs - their triumphs and their tragedies. But they have ended on a high with the opening of the process to determine the status of Kosova. The coming year will more likely see the end of that process," Jessen Petersen stated.
He said that Kosova has seen challenges this year and it has risen to those challenges with political maturity and dignity. "The peaceful transition when the prime minister resigned in March and the rallying in support around the president following his announcement of his health problem. These and many other instances showed to the world that the people of Kosova are looking to the future, not to the past."
"In partnership with the institutions of Kosova as a whole, the international community has continued to work on some of the challenges I spoke of a year ago: the rule of law, the protection of minorities, freedom of movement, return of displaced persons, and decentralization."
He emphasized that there was progress on these issues there can be no doubt - the opening of the status process is itself evidence of that. "But that there could have and needs to be more progress is also plain," he added.
He stressed that many of those issues that were priorities a year ago remain priorities today. The vehicle for achieving progress remains the Standards framework - a framework that will increasingly be geared towards your European goal.
"The standards implementation and improvements in the economy which are, I know, a principle concern for all of you will stay at the front and centre of the international community's efforts in Kosova. They will, I know, be at the heart of the IPVQ [Provisional Institutions of Self-government] policy as well. But for us all, the year, next year, 2006 will be dominated by the status talks."
He said that a sustainable status settlement must be based fundamentally on the desire of the majority in Kosova. "That desire is plain to all. But it is equally important that what the majority seeks for itself it must also seek for the minority communities and that is peace, stability, security, and economic prosperity."
Minority groups often feel, and often with reason, that they and their cultures are under threat. "I would like to look forward to a year when everyone in Kosovo can live freely and at ease with their and each other's culture and have no reason to fear the future."
"For this dream to be made real, the majority must extend the hand of friendship to the minorities and the minorities must take that hand. Another hope for Kosova in 2006, then, must be that it is the year when true political cooperation between all communities becomes a reality," said Kosova's chief administrator.