I. Introduction

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), by which the Council decided to establish the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and requested the Secretary-General to report at regular intervals on the implementation of the mandate. It covers the activities of UNMIK and developments in Kosovo (Serbia), from 1 September to 15 December 2007.

II. Kosovo future status process

2. During the reporting period, delegations from Pristina and Belgrade continued to attend talks on Kosovo’s future status led by a “Troika” comprising representatives of the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States of America. A final round of talks were held from 26 to 28 November, following which the Troika submitted its report to me on this period of further engagement between the sides, which I conveyed to the Security Council on 10 December (S/2007/723).

III. Political situation

3. On 17 November, elections were successfully held for: the Assembly of Kosovo; 30 municipal assemblies; and the new position of mayor for each of the 30 municipalities. The elections were organized under UNMIK’s authority by Kosovo’s Central Election Commission, in close cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Kosovo has now successfully held five sets of elections since UNMIK was established. The elections took place without incident following a generally fair and calm campaign period, and were confirmed by the Council of Europe to have been in compliance with international and European standards. The turnout for the elections was 42.8 per cent, lower than for the previous elections for the Assembly of Kosovo, which were held in 2004. This is in line with a trend of decreasing voter participation in Kosovo’s elections in recent years.

4. The results of the elections for the Kosovo Assembly were certified by my Special Representative, Joachim Rücker, on 5 December. Twenty-three mayoral contests went to a second round of voting, which was held on 8 December. Municipal-level results were certified by 19 December. The Democratic Party of Kosovo won the Assembly elections with 34.2 per cent of the vote. On 12 December, President Fatmir Sejdiu nominated the leader, Hashim Thaçi, to form a Government. Consultations between the Democratic Party of Kosovo and other parties began the same day, and are expected to include meetings with representatives of all minority communities. The first session of the new Assembly of Kosovo must be held within 30 days of the announcement of certified results, that is before 4 January 2008.

5. The participation of Kosovo Serbs was disappointingly very low, only slightly exceeding the turnout in the elections of 2004. Of the approximately 2,300 in-person votes received by Kosovo Serb political entities running for the Assembly, none were cast in the three northern municipalities of Leposaviq/Leposavic, Zveçan/Zvecan and Zubin Potok. The authorities in Belgrade called for a boycott of the elections, and this was supported in many areas in Kosovo by local Kosovo Serb officials who refused to allow school buildings to be used as polling stations, forcing UNMIK to provide mobile polling centres instead. There were also reports of intimidation of candidates and voters throughout the campaign. Several political entities representing established political parties in Serbia that had registered to run in the elections withdrew from the campaign, reportedly under pressure. The assessment of my Special Representative is that these incidents played a major part in ensuring a low Kosovo Serb voter turnout.

6. Most of the Kosovo Serbs who voted live south of the city of Mitrovica. This fact underscores the differences between the population of northern Kosovo, which is inhabited by a majority of Kosovo Serbs, who, to a large extent reject being administered by Pristina, and Kosovo Serbs in the rest of Kosovo, who recognize the need for practical ties with the Kosovo Albanian majority. Six of the eight Kosovo Serb political entities that participated in the elections gained the 10 seats reserved for parties representing Kosovo Serbs in the Assembly of Kosovo.

7. While it is expected that these parties will participate in the Assembly and in the new Government, within which two ministerial posts are reserved for Kosovo Serbs, it would be premature to see their participation as representative of a fundamental shift in the general opinion among the Kosovo Serbian community in favour of integration in Kosovo’s Provisional Institutions of Self-Government. Given the low voter turnout, and in order to ensure the implementation of elections results in Kosovo Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo and in mixed municipalities with significant numbers of Kosovo Serbs, my Special Representative has put in place a solution that will ensure equitable representation for all communities. In the three northern municipalities affected by the boycott, the current municipal assemblies will continue on a provisional basis for a period of six months. In the two affected southern municipalities, Kosovo Serb representatives will be appointed to municipal assemblies in line with the proportion of the local population that their community represents.

8. Throughout the election campaign, the members of the Kosovo Unity Team remained engaged in the Troika-led negotiations on Kosovo’s future status. While the Unity Team continued to attend the Troika-led talks, its representatives repeatedly stated that any further extension of talks would be unacceptable, stressing that a date for a declaration of independence for Kosovo, in coordination with the international community, should be quickly set after 10 December. This has raised further expectations in the Kosovo Albanian community that Kosovo will be independent in the near future. Public pressure on the new Government and Assembly to act swiftly to declare independence following the end of the period of engagement is high.

* Reissued for technical reasons. 

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