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Last Updated: 09/16/2003
An Agenda for Kosovo
Katy Cronin

From this month UNMIK, the UN Mission to Kosovo, is to be headed by a new Special Representative. The International Crisis Group offers its advice and proposals for a new agenda.

Kosovo: An Agenda for the New UN Special Representative

While the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is in its fourth year, the current period is one of the most sensitive since the war. A report published  by the International Crisis Group, Two to Tango: An Agenda for the New Kosovo SRSG*,  says recent fatal attacks on Kosovo Serbs and a UN policeman show that stability is not yet deep-rooted. There is growing frustration with the poor state of the economy and with delays in addressing final status issues.

The new Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG), former Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri, is also inheriting a legacy of confrontation and tension between UNMIK and Kosovo’s elected Provisional Institutions of Self Government (PISG). This crucial relationship has become dangerously strained just as final status discussions approach and PISG is assuming more responsibility. He will need to instil a new attitude of respect for local elected officials and a reflex for consultation rather than unilateral action.

ICG’s Europe Programme Director Nicholas Whyte said: “Tension and conflict under the former SRSG Michael Steiner distracted officials from the effort to build democratic institutions and created unnecessary ill-feeling. It is time to refresh relations between UNMIK and the PISG and ensure that any disputes lead to identification and resolution of problems rather than exacerbation of tensions”.

The PISG also shares responsibility for ensuring that relations are collaborative. Kosovo officials must recognise that cooperative interaction is in their direct interest. “Public disputes with UNMIK mar Kosovo’s reputation at a delicate time”, said Nicholas Whyte.

“As they clamour for more responsibility, Kosovo officials must also take seriously those areas of responsibility they do have – such as heath and education – and show greater leadership by becoming proactive in developing and maintaining dialogue and constructive relations with UNMIK”.

The report outlines several critical issues that the government (PISG) and UNMIK will have to address together and provides recommendations on how they can put their relationship back on track.

Media Contacts for crisis web: Katy Cronin (London) +44 20 7981 0330
Francesca Lawe-Davies (Brussels) +32-(0)2-536 00 65
Jennifer Leonard (Washington) +1-202-785 1601
*Read the ICG report in full:



For previous Peace and Conflict Monitor views on Kosovo see: