UNMIK transforms into United Nations Office in Prishtina

Prishtinë, 11 April 2008 – According to a report of the Kosovar daily “Koha Ditore” the UN Mission will stay in Kosovo even after the transfer of reserved powers to the Government of Kosovo, but under a different name and different mandate.

Citing a high diplomatic official from the UN headquarters in New York, the paper writes that the new mission will most likely be named “The United Nations Office in Prishtina”.

Citing diplomatic sources Koha Ditore writes that UNMIK Pillar IV will close on June 30, following a decision of the European Commission to halt further funding of the Pillar.

According to the paper, the staff of Pillar IV has been notified about the termination of their contracts. But the fate of hundreds of local staff members remains unknown, respectively whether they will be systemized into new jobs or simply added to the unemployment figures of Kosovo’s Statistical Office on July 1st.

A silent end for UNMIK

The other Kosovar daily “Express” reported recently that UNMIK chief Joachim Rücker is to send detailed recommendations to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on how the UN presence in Kosovo should look. These recommendations, adds the paper, will include proposals for a new and limited role, downsizing of staff, timeframes for implementation of recommendations and other issues of technical nature.

According to some sources as part of UNMIK’s reconfiguration, the international administration in Kosovo will, on the request of Kosovo Government, free two buildings in the centre of Kosovo which are used for UNMIK. UNMIK Spokesperson Alex Ivanko said he is aware there are ongoing discussions on this issue but “there is still no decision.”

Rücker expected to take on a senior post in the UN

Joachim Rücker itself could be appointed as head of the Management Department at the UN HQ after departing from Kosovo. The Kosovar daily Lajm writes that the possibility of Rücker being promoted to a different post within the UN is already being hugely discussed in New York. UNMIK Spokesperson, Sven Lindholm, told the paper that this issue is currently not on the table. “Rücker is still Special Representative of the Secretary General in Kosovo. What will happen later is up to UN’s decision,” he said.