A milestone is passed in relations between Serbia and Kosovo: UN envoy

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Special Representative Farid Zarif. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

An important milestone has been passed in the implementation of an agreement on the principles governing the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

That's what the head of the UN Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Farid Zarif told the Security Council during his briefing on Tuesday.

He said since his last briefing in August, the implementation of the 19 April First Agreement on Principles Governing the Normalization of Relations between Pristina and Belgrade "has entered a critical and broadly more challenging phase."

"The milestone was reached through the extensive preparations and successful conduct of Kosovo-wide municipal elections on the 3rd of this month. Despite the short window opened for the preparation of these elections, a significant number of Kosovo municipalities recorded substantially higher turnout than was the case in the last local elections in 2009."

Ambassador Zarif said "the turnout in the Serb-majority municipalities south of the Ibar River was far higher than during previous local elections over the past decade."

Despite some serious problems on Election Day in northern Mitrovica, he added, the re-vote proceeded peacefully without significant incidents or problems.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

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