13 March 2000
UNMIK LAUNCHES KOSOVO POSTAGE STAMPS
PRISTINA-The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo and Post & Telecommunications of Kosovo will issue tomorrow a set of five UNMIK postage stamps designed around the theme "Peace in Kosovo".
The release of the stamps and first day cover will be marked by a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon in the Grand Hotel in Pristina, hosted by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Dr. Bernard Kouchner.
First day covers go on sale on 15 March in six post offices in Pristina and in Ferizai, Prizren, Djakova, Peja, Mitrovica and Gjnilane. Outside Kosovo, collectors can order them from the United Nations Postal Administration in New York, Geneva or Vienna, or through their local stamp dealers.
For the next two months, the stamps can be used to send mail in Kosovo only, through the Post & Telecommunications of Kosovo. In mid-May, international service should be available.
Approved by the Universal Postal Union, UNMIK stamps were printed in Paris by the French postal service La Poste. They will be issued in five denominations and five designs created by Kosovo artist Shyqri Nimani, whose submission won a public competition held in Kosovo. Eight million stamps have arrived in Kosovo by French military aircraft.
With funding from the European Agency for Reconstruction, UNMIK has opened 80 of 130 Kosovo post offices, employing 700 staff. Sixty vehicles donated to the Kosovo postal service by the European Agency for Reconstruction are to arrive in late April.
Shyqri Nimani, who won the competition to illustrate a series of five stamps around the message of "peace in Kosovo", was born in Shkoder, Albania, and studied in Pec/Peja and later at the Arts Academy in Belgrade. He was director of the Pristina Art Gallery from 1979 to 1989.
All five subjects of the stamps represent aspects of the cultural and historical heritage of Kosovo. Stamps come in denominations of 20, 30, and 50 pfennigs, and in 1 and 2 deutsche mark.
The 20 pf stamp represents a piece of a 5th-6th century mosaic portraying the poet Orpheus, found in the Podujeve area, where it had been extracted from the flooring of an ancient house.
The 30 pf stamp replicates the "Dardanian idol", a 3500 B.C. figurine held by the Museum of Kosovo, among some of the first evidence of human settlement in Kosovo.
The 50 pf stamp portrays a 4th century B.C. silver coin from the Illyrian town of Damastion in Dardania (today's Kosovo).
The 1 DM stamp illustrates a silver statue in Prizren of Mother Theresa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who was an Albanian.
The 2 DM stamp features a map of Kosovo with sites of destruction, reconstruction, industrial wealth, natural beauty and cultural heritage.
Other technical details: La Poste produced the stamps in sheets of 40. The stamps measure 30 mm horizontally by 40 mm vertically. Perforations are 27 by 20. There are no marginal inscriptions. The vertically running text on the left-hand side reads: "United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo" in three languages-English, Albanian and Serbian-while on the right are the words "Peace-Paqe-Mir". There are six first day covers; five with one stamp each and one.