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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Kosovo marks UN's mixed record
Soldiers clash with demonstrators in Mitrovica
The UN has come under fire for its failures in Mitrovica

It's three years since the United Nations took over the administration of the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

On paper at least, the mission appears to have made huge progress.

It has been seen as the UN's first attempt at nation building - it's been regarded as the model for similar missions in East Timor and now Afghanistan.

The majority ethnic Albanian population has been marking the anniversary with street celebrations - they have been the main beneficiaries of the UN's presence.

Rebuilding

The mission was charged with setting up an interim administration in the province, and then handing it over to local politicians.

Kosovo's assembly
Ethnic Albanians want Kosovo's full independence
The judiciary and police service has been built virtually from scratch.

Crime figures and in particular inter-ethnic violence have been curbed.

Key areas such as health, education and trade and industry are now the responsibility of local politicians, answerable to the regional parliament.

Most of the 200,000 Serbs who fled the province at the end of the war in Kosovo show no sign of returning to their homes in the near future.

In an interview with the BBC, the head of the UN mission in Kosovo, Michael Steiner, admitted it could be another two years before significant numbers can return.

Those that remain live in enclaves where their freedom of movement is restricted.

The UN has also been criticised for its failure to establish its authority in Serb dominated areas, most notably in the city of Mitrovica, where the Serbian Government still retains considerable influence.

So long as these problems remain unsolved and relations between ethnic Albanians and Serbian are fraught, the UN looks likely to remain in Kosovo for several years to come.

News and analysis from Kosovo following November's election


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03 Jun 02 | Europe
24 May 02 | Scotland
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04 Feb 00 | Europe
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