Yearbook of the United Nations, 2003. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 5, Europe and the Mediterranean
In 2003, the countries in post-conflict situations in Europe and the Mediterranean continued their slow and difficult progress towards the restoration of peace and stability by consolidating the progress made so far in re-establishing their governance institutions and social and economic infrastructure, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serbia and Montenegro province of Kosovo. However,many political issues and situations remained unresolved. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the efforts of the international community, currently led by the European Union (EU), a number of reforms were undertaken, particularly in the areas of the rule of law, refugee return and economic development,in accordance with European standards. The country thus moved one step closer to full integration into Europe through meeting the requirements of the EU Stabilization and Association Process and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Partnership for Peace. In the Kosovo province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (renamed Serbia and Montenegro on 4 February), the United Nations continued to assist in efforts to build a modern, European, multi-ethnic society through the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Further progress was made in establishing the Provisional Institutions of Self Government and in transferring authority to those institutions. By the end of the year, UNMIK had completed the transfer of all the competences under Chapter V of the Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government and had instituted a mechanism for involving Kosovo authorities in those competences reserved to the Special Representative, without prejudice to his authority. The Special Representative and the Security Council monitored progress made towards the fulfilment of the benchmarks for determining when the political process of deciding Kosovo's future status could begin. Advances were also made in normalizing relations between the two capitals, Belgrade and Pristina, when, on 14 October, dialogue was launched between them on matters of practical interest. That progress was marred, however, by several incidents of violence and crimes against minorities, which were condemned by the Council in December. Efforts intensified to advance the Georgian/ Abkhaz peace process. Senior officials of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General (France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States) met twice in Geneva in an effort to overcome the political impasse and get the two parties to begin discussions of the 2001 Basic Principles for the Distribution of Competences between Tbilisi (Georgia's Government) and Sukhumi (the Abkhaz leadership) [YUN 2001, p. 386], which were intended to serve as a basis for substantial negotiations over the status of Abkhazia as a sovereign entity within the State of Georgia. That initiative was given a further boost by a March meeting between the Presidents of Georgia and the Russian Federation and a high-level meeting of the parties in July, which agreed to create working groups to address the issues of the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to the Gali district, the reopening of railway traffic between Sochi and Tbilisi and energy projects. Unfortunately, no progress was made with regard to the core political issue, as the Abkhaz side maintained its refusal to discuss the 2001 Basic Principles document. That process was further stalled by the complex political situation on both sides of the ceasefire line and events that led to the resignation of Georgia's President, Eduard Shevardnadze, in November. No progress was made towards a settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorny Karabakh region in Azerbaijan. In the Mediterranean, the situation in Cyprus was marked by hope and disappointment. The direct talks initiated in 2002, which aimed to resolve the Cyprus question and lead to a reunited country, resumed, but stalled once again due to the wide differences between the two leaders. To further accommodate those differences, the Secretary-General, on 26 February, again revised his comprehensive settlement proposal “Basis for Agreement on a Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus Problem”, which required the two sides to commit themselves to finalizing negotiations by the end of February and to submit the plan for approval to separate simultaneous referendums on 30 March. In meetings with the Secretary-General in March in The Hague, the two leaders failed to reach agreement and the process came to an end. While the Secretary-General's plan remained on the table, he did not propose taking any new initiative until there was evidence that the political will existed for a successful outcome.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2003. v. 57; Vol. 57
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