17 October 2003


NEW YORK, 16 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is today’s press statement on Kosovo by Security Council President John Negroponte (United States):

Members of the Security Council welcomed the opening of a direct dialogue on practical issues of mutual interest between authorities in Belgrade and Pristina on October 14 in Vienna.  They asserted their commitment to the direct dialogue as a means to foster confidence between the parties and to improve people’s daily lives.

Members of the Council called upon all parties on both sides to participate fully in the technical dialogue as it moves to expert-level working groups.  The working groups will focus on practical issues of mutual interest, such as energy, transportation, missing persons, and refugees and internally displaced persons.

Consistent with the policy of “standards before status”, successful conduct of the direct dialogue would also contribute to the achievement of one of the eight internationally endorsed standards and to the implementation of resolution 1244.

Members reiterated their full support for Special Representative for the Secretary-General Harri Holkeri.  They commended his work in convening the dialogue.

* *** *