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Serbo Journal

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Serbs are not returning to Kosovo

Belgrade, April 18 (SRNA) - Outgoing deputy director in UNMIK's Office for Communities, Return and Minority Issues Killian Kleinschmidt said today that 2,000 Serbs have returned to Kosovo and Metohija in the past year.

At the conclusion of his visit to Belgrade he told reporters that when he assumed the job 15 months ago he did not believe it would be possible to talk about return but now "an opportunity exists". According to him, the possibility for people returning to Kosovo and Metohija are now much greater than 15 months ago but still not enough until everyone is ensured freedom of movement and safety.

Kleinschmidt admitted that the process of return of displaced Albanians in 1999 was much faster but assessed that the reason for this lies in the fact that foreign donors provided them with great financial means for the restoration of houses while presently UNMIK has to look for donors, which is a much slower process. Office director Sandra Mitchell stated that a new approach to return and reintegration of internally displaced persons in Kosovo and Metohija creates the possibility of changing the return policy and that in the future this process will unfold more quickly.

During their visit the representatives of UNMIK's Office met with Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija president Sanda Raskovic-Ivic and her associates, as well as with Serbia-Montenegro minsiter for human and minority rights Rasim Ljajic.

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