Thursday, March 20, 2008

UNMIK administrator in controversial resignation -- A US Diplomat with a Conscience

19 March 2008 | 19:19 -> 23:52 | Source: B92, Beta KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Regional UNMIK chief Gerard Galluci has resigned, but the UN HQ has not accepted his resignation.

The U.S. diplomat in charge of the UN operations in Kosovska Mitrovica was asked to withdraw his resignation.

This is what an anonymous diplomatic source told Beta news agency tonight, adding that Galluci was "currently on vacation, and will resume his duties once he returns".

Earlier today, KIM Radio reported that Galluci, who is currently abroad, opted for this move because of the differences he has with Priština.

KIM's sources with the UN mission in the province's capital confirmed this.

"Galluci has resigned because, compared to Priština, he has a different approach to the situation in Kosovska Mitrovica, when it comes to the international community's policy and attitude toward the problems in this town," the unnamed diplomatic sources have said.

UNMIK's spokesman Alexander Ivanko would not deny or confirm the news today.

He told KIM that these are "internal UNMIK matters".

Asked where Galluci was and whether he was performing his duties, Ivanko said, "As far as I know and last I heard he is in Mitrovica. I cannot say anything else on this issue, this is an internal UNMIK matter."

Also Wednesday, one of the Kosovo Serb leaders, Milan Ivanović, gave journalist a report about Monday's violence submitted by Galluci.

The report says that the raid was a "badly planned operation to restore law and order in the north, which has led to the disappearance of law and order".

"The choice of the date – March 17 – the fourth anniversary of the last episode of the ethnic cleansing of the Kosovo Serbs, and the decision to arrest and transport the Serbs to Priština looks as if it was created in order to inflame the Serb feelings," Galluci adds.

"If, on some other day, the police simply asked the people to leave the premises before trying to arrest them, perhaps we could have announced a victory without a price tag," the report said.

"One positive aspect is that during the events Monday, Serbs did not disturb or attack Albanians in northern Mitrovica, and they cooperated with UNMIK during the evacuation of our civilians," Galluci said.

Some Albanians live in the north of the divided town, while there are no Serbs in the southern, Albanian part.

"Our credibility and relations necessary for our peacekeeping role in the north have been seriously, perhaps irreversibly jeopardized. Now we can all see that Serbs have a clear goal, that they are well organized and well armed. The Serb community in the north, regardless of whether people like Marko [Jakšić] and Milan [Ivanović], will gather around their 'radical' leadership, if it is directly provoked. The reaction to any attempt to arrest them would be fierce," the paper, entitled, "The report after defeat", says.

"All in all, it must be clear that the use of force to achieve political goals related to the status will not work. Just as we have said many, many times before… the use of force will only lead to violence that will probably accelerate the partition or will lead to new ethnic cleansing and conflict. This must be kept in mind when future decisions are made about UN courts, railways, electricity."

Galluci also suggested that UNMIK must "admit its mistakes and repent for what has been done" in order to continue communicating with the Serbs in the north.

"Albanians must be made to understand clearly: leave the north to us, live in peace and stop threatening with violence. We heard that Premier Thaci's been telling people he's been "having trouble controlling the Drenica boys". We did not annul the unilateral declaration of independence because we could not stop it. By the same token, we cannot force those who reject it to accept it. Not only have we no moral or legal basis to use force, but it yields no results," Galluci concludes his damning report.

Belgrade daily Politika says that the report, likely to put him in Kosovo Serbs' good books, raises the issue of whether his behavior in fact led to the escalation of the crisis.

"He has not had good cooperation with UNMIK in Priština for months, and before the courthouse was taken last Friday, he was in intense consultations with the leaders of the Mitrovica Serbs. Some sources even say he indirectly encouraged them to take over the premises that have no key significance," the newspaper says.

Politika then adds that "diplomacy is apparently not the only of Gallucci's occupations", and says he was in "another conflict zone of interest to the United States" – Sundan.

"As the U.S. charge d'affaires, Washington's top representative in that country, he was in charge of – monitoring the fighting in Darfour," the daily says.

Galluci, a former U.S. State Department diplomat, was working in northern Kosovo since 2004.

His resignation comes two days after violence flared up in the town between UNMIK and KFOR troops and local Serb civilians, killing one, and injuring more than 100 people.

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