The Swiss Justice Minister, Ruth Metzler, has begun a three-day working visit to Kosovo. The trip will include meetings with United Nations representatives and members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The Swiss Justice Minister, Ruth Metzler, has begun a three-day working visit to Kosovo. The trip will include talks with the deputy head of the United Nations mission in Kosovo, Jock Covey, and the chief of the civilian police in the province.
Meetings are also scheduled with representatives of the UN's refugee agency and of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The aim of the trip is for Metzler to ensure conditions are adequate for the repatriation of some 40,000 Kosovar refugees who have been housed in Switzerland since last year. They were collectively granted temporary refugee status last year, during the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo which led to Nato's offensive against Yugoslavia.
Since the end of the bombings, the Swiss government has been encouraging the refugees to return voluntarily, by offering them financial help. However, at the end of May, it will begin with forced repatriations.
In addition to discussing repatriation matters, as head of Switzerland's Justice and Police Ministry, Metzler will look at issues concerning the development of legal institutions in Kosovo. A brief visit to the soldiers making up Switzerland's peacekeeping contingent, Swisscoy, has also been scheduled, along with a meeting between Metzler and a group of former refugees who have already been repatriated from Switzerland.
swissinfo with agencies