UN chief: Tensions serious threat to Kosovo stability

Source: Tanjug
NEW YORK — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that tensions and confrontations are a serious threat to the stability.

Vandalism, threats and attacks against facilities of the Serbian Orthodox Church are on the rise, which could narrow the room for the Belgrade-Priština dialogue in the months to come, he said.
In his latest report, which Tanjug has seen, Ban says the number of crimes against minority communities increased between February and May 2012 compared to the same period last year.

In the report which he will present to the UN Security Council on May 14, the Secretary-General warns that the points to the existing negative trend in the process of return of displaced persons to Kosovo, and that only 136 people have returned voluntarily in the last three months.

Among them are 33 Serbs, 10 Roma, 83 Ashkali, eight Bosniaks and two Albanians. This is a 48 percent decline compared to the same period in 2011, when 264 people came back.

The report warns there is still considerable resistance in Priština against guarding Serbian cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo.

There is a disconnect between that obligations the Kosovo authorities have taken on in this area and their implementation, says the report.

Ban adds the international community hopes the progress on the EU path and normalization of the relations between Belgrade and Priština will gradually suppress the sources of tensions.

Copies of the report were distributed to the ambassadors of the UN Security Council member countries ahead of the staging of Serbia’s elections in Kosovo, which Ban qualified as the initial trigger for a series of unresolved issues.

The room for talks could narrow, especially if peace is not maintained or due to ill-advised public reactions to incidents and provocations. Unwarranted arrests or warmongering statements lead to a rise in tension and violence, Ban said in the report.