Press release
PM Office, OSCE Mission and Kosovo NGO begin drafting strategy on Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities

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PRISHTINE/PRISTINA, 8 September 2006 - The Prime Minister's Office, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society will tomorrow host a conference to launch the development of a strategy for the integration of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians in Kosovo.

During the event, Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) and Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian political and civil society representatives will begin developing a governmental strategy to help improve the social, economic and political situation of these communities through recommendations on issues such as education, employment, health, housing and property rights.

The recommendations will be consolidated into a strategy paper that will be presented for acceptance and adoption by the affected communities and the Kosovo Government. The Office of the Prime Minister will then organize an International Donor's Conference in 2007 with the aim of raising funds for its implementation.

"The development of a Kosovo Government strategy for these vulnerable communities shows the commitment from all sides," said OSCE Deputy Head of Mission, Jens Modvig "It is a clear sign of growing and co-operation between PISG and the Office of the Prime Minister on one hand, and the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities on the other.

"The strategy is important not only to improve the situation of these communities, but also as a crucial step toward future European integration: a Europe which considers the effective protection of communities a cornerstone of its value system."

The OSCE Mission, the Prime Minister's Office and the Kosovo Foundation for an Open Society will support and facilitate the strategy development process during the next year.

Media are invited to attend the opening session at 9:30 on Saturday, September 9 at the Grand Hotel in Prishtine/Pristina. The session will feature speeches by the Prime Minister, the OSCE Deputy Head of Mission and the Kosovo Foundation for an Open Society Executive Director.