Agreement signed for safe return of Kosovo Serbs MAY 2 --
The Joint Committee on Returns (JCR) which will explore ways and means for the safe and sustainable return of Kosovo Serbs to their homes was formally established today in a signing ceremony in Gracanica.
The signatories included the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Dr. Bernard Kouchner, the Deputy Special Representative for Humanitarian Affairs (UNHCR), Mr. Dennis McNamara, the commander of the international peacekeeping force (KFOR), General Joun Ortuno, and Bishop Artemije of the Serb National Council.
The establishment of the JCR represents the first major joint achievement resulting from the recent decision of the Serb National Council to join the Joint Interim Administrative Structure. The JCR is an "important step towards the establishment of peaceful co-existence and a multi-ethnic society in Kosovo," the signatories said, according to an UNMIK press release.
The signatories said they also looked forward to the close cooperation and future participation of other Kosovo communities in the work of the JCR. Dr. Kouchner said that he would ask the Mitrovica Serb leader, Oliver Ivanovic, to participate in the agreement.
The JCR will form committees to review, supervise and implement all aspects related to the return of an estimated 150,000 displaced Kosovo Serbs, and will involve coordination between the international security and civil presence. Donors will also be identified for return and reconstruction programmes.
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