Monday, 21 June 2004 – The United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed last week the Danish diplomat Soren Jessen-Petersen as head of UNMIK mission in Kosovo. Jessen-Petersen is following Harri Holkeri who resigned four weeks ago for health reasons.
“I have been working in the region for the last 10-15 years and I have been to Kosovo several times. Therefore, I am very aware of the huge challenge that awaits me. I will take on this challenge with full commitment and continue the agenda in the interest of all Kosovo citizens and in the interest of peace and stability in the region,” said Jessen-Petersen in his first address to the media after his appointment.
Asked about priorities in his mission in Kosovo, he said it is still early to talk about priorities, adding that being in Macedonia he was in a position to keep abreast of the developments in Kosovo over the last five or six years.
“I will say only two things. First the events of March clearly demonstrated that the international community cannot allow to be discouraged for the help it has given Kosovo, but it should continue to support it to push processes forward”.
I know that there is an attention directed to other priorities in the world like Iraq, Afghanistan, said Jessen-Petersen pointing out that it would be a serious mistake if in this phase the international community turned its back on Kosovo. He expressed his hope that this will not be the case.
Jessen-Petersen stressed the importance to fully respect the rights of all the communities living in Kosovo, adding that the “events of March have focused everybody’s mind, including mine’ on finding main priorities”.
Asked about an answer to continuous demands of the political entities in Kosovo for the transfer of competencies from UNMIK to local institutions, Jessen-Petersen said it was too early to answer. ‘I am aware of what Kosovars are expecting. I am aware of what everybody is expecting and I believe you understand I cannot have a direct answer to this question today. But I can tell you I am deeply convinced that it is one of the issues that requires urgent attention”, said Petersen.
According to the media he will take on the new post as SRSG in Kosovo at the beginning of August.