Updated: 16-Sep-2003 September 2003

9 Sept 2003


New Head of UN Mission in Kosovo at NATO

09/09/03 - NATO
The new Head of the UN Mission in Kosovo, Mr. Harri Holkeri to visit NATO on Tuesday 9 September 2003
Press point by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson and Mr. Harri Holkeri, the new Head of the UN Mission in Kosovo
High resolution photos of the visit of Harri Holkeri to NATO
Audio file of the press point (.MP3/5575)
Biography of Harri Holkeri
UNMIK website
Mr Harri Holkeri, the new Head of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), came to NATO HQ for his first meeting with Lord Robertson on 9 September.

During a meeting with the media afterwards, the Secretary General was questioned on KFOR, the possible expansion of the ISAF mandate in Afghanistan, and, as speculation grows on the question, the choice of his successor, at the head of the Alliance.

Regarding the situation in Kosovo, at a joint press conference with Lord Robertson, Mr Holkeri stated that the role of UNMIK was to make the province a safe place for all of its inhabitants to live in. The situation in Kosovo could be better and needs efforts on both sides for it to improve, he said while stressing that its future could never be based on the use of violence. The Head of UNMIK was referring to the violence perpetrated in Kosovo during the summer. Lord Robertson also deplored these incidents, stating that they "put roadblocks on Kosovo joining the EU family of nations". He added that the future status of the province would be discussed at an appropriate point, but that he fully agreed with the UN policy of achieving the necessary standards before deciding on the final status.

Mr Holkeri is the former President of the 55th General Assembly of the UN (2000-2001) and was Prime Minister of Finland from 1987 to 1991. He succeeds Michael Steiner.

Asked about a possible expansion of ISAF's mandate in Afghanistan, Lord Robertson said the issue had been raised by a number of NATO countries, adding, "This matter is being looked at inside NATO... and we'll be looking for some military advice on how feasible that may be."