GuineaBissau Security Council backs Annans call for constructive dialogue

In a statement to the press, the current President of the Council, Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, said that the 15-member body supported the Secretary-General’s appeal to both the executive and the legislative branches to reach a compromise on the constitutional issue, including the separation of powers.Council members also called on President Kumba Yalà to commit himself “to fully respect for national reconciliation, good governance and the implementation of the programme for demobilization, reintegration and reinsertion of former combatants,” Ambassador Greenstock said. [In Durban, South Africa, today, the Secretary-General met with President Yalà on the sidelines of the summit meeting of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).]They also urged the President to commit to close monitoring of the management of public finances and to improve relations with the Gambia while continuing full co-operation with Senegal on the issues at stake, according to the statement.Meanwhile, members of the Council supported the Secretary-General’s call for assistance from the international community for Guinea-Bissau in priority areas and encouraged the Bretton Woods institutions to continue their constructive engagement with the country, Ambassador Greenstock said.The statement followed a private meeting of the Council in which it heard a briefing from David Stephen, Mr. Annan’s Representative for Guinea-Bissau and the head of the UN Peace Building Support Office there (UNOGBIS). read more

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Kosovo police lauded for major operation assume increasingly important role – UN

Officials from the police component of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) said that all security and crowd-control measures for January’s funeral of the province’s President had been handled by local police units, based on the training that they had received from international officers.“This is being considered the most successful operation conducted in Kosovo post 1999 even though it was unfortunate that the first occasion for the KPS to prove themselves to this degree was one of such sadness at the loss of their President,” Kai Vittrup, UNMIK Police Commissioner, told the UN News Service.“It has been the largest single operation that has ever been completed in Kosovo, and it was led and run by KPS, albeit with some guidance, although no international officers were involved at the street level and only mentoring and advice was given at the command level,” he added.The force received similar praise last month when the senior UN envoy to Kosovo gave his latest briefing on the province to the Security Council, saying that he felt “bound to salute the performance” of the 3,500 Kosovo police officers on duty at the funeral for their “professionalism and sensitivity.”“In Pristina, there were officers from the North part of Mitrovica, from Gracanica and Strpce. Neither one was differentiated from the others but all were officers performing to the highest-level of professionalism in this dignified ceremony,” said KPS chief Colonel Behar Selimi, himself an ethnic Albanian, referring to Serb majority areas. But UN police officials say that the success of the funeral operation is only the latest example in the rebirth of a force built up since the United Nations took over the running of Kosovo in 1999 when NATO drove out Yugoslav troops amid human rights abuses in fighting between Serbs and Albanians.Paul Hutchings, UNMIK’s Deputy Police Commissioner for Operations, said that the UN police component has now handed over most of the responsibilities for policing operations in the province to the KPS.Mr. Hutchings stressed the extensive training that the UN police had provided to their Kosovo counterparts, noting in particular that almost 2,000 local officers had now been trained in the latest and most effective methods of riot control, while local minority police officers had been assigned to villages that had felt neglected by the force.Turning to the specific crime-fighting role in the province, UNMIK’s Deputy Police Commissioner for Crime, Bob Morrison, also said that the local force had become more directly involved in this aspect of policing.In particular, Mr. Morrison said that Regional Crime Squads were now under KPS control, while the total number of local officers involved directly or indirectly in investigations throughout Kosovo had also increased over the past year.UNMIK Police Commissioner Vittrup acknowledged that the UN police still has work to do in Kosovo but he said that the success of local officers in mounting the funeral operation, in addition to their other achievements, showed that despite the difficulties things were on the right track.“As the UNMIK police component begins 2006, we are able to survey the achievements of the past year and see that our work, while not complete, is approaching its end,” Mr. Vittrup told the UN News Service.“Our mandate at the beginning of the mission was to provide for the safety and security of the residents of Kosovo and to create and train a Kosovo Police Service, which I’m proud to say is well on its way to developing into a respected, professional law enforcement body,” the Commissioner concluded. read more

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