Sun, May 19 2013
United Nations' mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the European Union rule of law mission in Kosovo (EULEX) inked on August 18 2008 a memorandum of understanding that arranges the hand-over of power from the UN administration, which has been running the former Serbian province since 1999, to its EU successors, local media reported.
The document will order relations in the transfer of responsibilities from UNMIK to EULEX in the areas of justice, police and customs, UNMIK spokesperson Alexander Ivanko told broadcaster B92 hours before the signing.
The memorandum was signed behind closed doors by UNMIK chief Lamberto Zannier and head of the EU planning team Roy Reeve.
Serbia immediately slammed the signing as illegal. Belgrade, who has vowed never to let go of its one-time religious and historical heartland, has repeatedly claimed the EU has no authority whatsoever to manage Kosovo.
"The Serbian Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija stated today regarding the expected signing of a memorandum between the UNMIK and EULEX, that the process of the reconfiguration of UNMIK, without Belgrade's consent and the UN Security Council, violates Security Council Resolution 1244, the UN Charter and other norms of international law, as well as the Serbian Constitution," the Serbian government said in a statement on its website.
Serbia's defence minister Dragan Sutanovac defined the signing as "a violation of international law". "It's a bad move there is no a United Nations decision for that," Sutanovac said, as quoted by B92.
The EULEX was designed as a continuation of UNMIK's presence in Kosovo after the role of the UN body has been played down as a result of Kosovo's constitution entering into force back in June.
Serbia and Russia, who is fully backing Belgrade in its refusal to recognise an independent Kosovo, have claimed EULEX is illegal as it is backed by no official UN decision. Russia, as one of the veto powers on the UN Security Council, has vowed to block any resolution to Serbia's detriment.
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