Germans interested in taking over control of massive United Nations mission after Dane resigns abruptly, diplomats tell Reuters
Former UN Kosovo administrator, Denmark's defence minister Hans Haekkerup told the UN he won't be back in 2002
Germany might take over the leading role in the ambitious and daunting United Nations mission in Kosovo, diplomats told Reuters on Friday.
The former head of the mission, Denmark’s former defense minister Hans Haekkerup quit abruptly after a year on the job, citing personal reasons. Western diplomats said the United Nations is eager to replace Haekkerup as soon as possible, and said that Germany has shown interest in the job.
The UN administration, set up in June 1999, is one of the organization’s largest missions with a staff of more than 5,000 people and a budget of more than $400 million.
A possible candidate being mentioned for the post is Michael Steiner, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s top foreign policy aide who recently resigned in scandal. Steiner was involved in humanitarian aid and the peace process in the Balkans from 1991 to 1995. Following the end of the Bosnian war, he was a top representative of the UN High Representative for the region Carl Bildt.
But Steiner has also been involved in controversy. Notes from a supposed top secret discussion between him, Schröder, American President George W. Bush, and his top aides concerning Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi appeared in the German press. In them, Steiner said that Gaddafi had admitted that Libya was involved in several terrorist attacks. The professionalism of the German foreign ministry was called into question.
In November, Steiner had to resign his post after a controversy in which he insulted German soldiers and demand they serve him caviar as he waited for a flight to Moscow.
Another name mentioned has been Klaus Reinhardt, a retired gernral and former commander of the NATO-led peacekeeping operation in Kosovo, the diplomats told Reuters.
Though Kosovo’s new assembly and government will take care of most of the daily tasks, the UN adminstration ís still needed in vital areas such as law enforcement.