More local politicians join joint UN Kosovo administration

PRISTINA, Jan 20, 2000 -- (AFP) The process to fill posts in Kosovo's fledgling joint administration has seen nine more departments allocated to representatives of the Kosovar majority, a U.N. spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Negotiations are continuing with Serbian representatives, Nadia Younes added, but so far they have refused to join the interim body on which local leaders will join U.N. officials in running the province's affairs.

The departments' work will be directed by the Interim Administrative Council (IAC), made up of four UN representatives and the leaders of Kosovo's three biggest ethnic Albanian parties. An IAC place for a Serb representative has not yet been filled.

The IAC allotted the party of former rebel leader Hashim Thaci the two departments of Civil Security and Emergency Preparedness and Health and Social Security on Wednesday, Younes said .

The Kosovo Democratic League (LDK) of veteran pacifist leader Ibrahim Rugova will head General Public Services and Post and Telecommunications.

The departments of utilities and Non-resident Affairs went to the Unified Democratic Movement (LBD) of Rexhep Qoja, the third ethnic Albanian appointed to the IAC with Thaci and Rugova.

Independent politicians were appointed to the departments of democratization and civil society, culture and youth and sports.

Under last month's agreement launching the joint administration, local political leaders will run the 19 departments in cooperation with officials from the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Four departments remain to be allocated, with two earmarked for Serbian representatives who have boycotted the whole administration, saying they were not consulted about its formation.

Younes said talks were still underway with the Serbian community, but did not say when the representatives might take up their posts. One place on the IAC has also been held back for a Serb delegate.

The remaining two departments are reserved for other ethnic minorities.

Thaci's Democratic Progress Party (PPDK) has already been allocated the department of commerce and industry and that of the local government.

The LDK will run the finance and justice departments, while the LBD has been assigned education and reconstruction.

The administration was set up last month to allow Kosovars to help run their province which has been under UNMIK control since NATO-led forces occupied Kosovo in June last year.

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