I would like to thank the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Farid Zarid, the Foreign Minister of Serbia, Mr. Vuk Jeremic and Mr. Enver Hoxhaj, Foreign Minister of Kosovo, for their interventions. I also have words of appreciation to Mr. Lamberto Zannier for his work in Kosovo and wish him the best in his new office.
I would like to focus my statement on some specific issues. First, the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. It has already produced some important results in the fields of freedom of movement, civil registry and academic diplomas, and continues to be the most important setting to achieve a mutually agreed solution for the outstanding issues. Under the auspices – and the incentive – of the European Union, the parties are sitting at the same table, discussing issues with an impact on the daily lives of people in Serbia and Kosovo.
This is a process that can go forward only if based on good faith, good will and a spirit of compromise on both sides. I believe that we would take a significant step backwards if this process came to a halt because the hope of a mutually agreed settlement would have been lost. If we are to expect positive developments, if the negotiation process is to move forward in a meaningful way, concessions are needed from both sides. I will return to this point further on.
I would now like to bring up some of the issues referred to in EULEX’s report. This Mission’s continued efforts to uphold the rule of law and law enforcement in Kosovo should be duly appreciated. High-profile cases continue to take a prominent place in the reports on EULEX activity. Allow me to refer, once more, to the investigation of the allegations made regarding the trafficking of human organs that may amount to war crimes in Kosovo, with ramifications in other countries.
A considerable amount of new staff and resources have been assigned to the EULEX’s Special Task Force to investigate the allegations in Senator Dick Marty’s report, which is now in the last stages of preparation . We welcome the fact that the Mission has successfully established jurisdiction regarding certain crimes committed outside of the borders of Kosovo. This is an important development in the endeavour to uncover the whole truth behind the said allegations – which must remain our ultimate goal. It is important that the members of this Council are kept fully updated on the progress of EULEX’s investigations concerning the Senator’s allegations.
The current situation in Kosovo offers ample opportunity for attempts at forcing a change of circumstances on the ground, hoping that they may become permanent. Such actions or initiatives, by whatever party, are unacceptable. It is up to us to make sure that nothing is to be gained from straying away from the diplomatic track, as narrow and winding as it may look.
In this framework, the work of international forces and bodies and the reinforcement of their capacities are to be welcomed – and in that regard, allow me to commend the operational and tactical skill showed by KFOR during the events we are discussing.
EULEX is also playing a key role in several fundamental aspects of normalization of life in Kosovo. We commend its work and its commitment to this difficult mission. In this context, we welcome the considerable drop in violent crime described by the Secretary-General’s report, as well as the improved professionalism of the Kosovo police.
On the other hand, we are concerned about the sharp increase in criminal incidents affecting minority communities in the past three months: guaranteeing the physical safety of minorities is one of the cornerstones of the rule of law in any modern polity. Also important is the fight against domestic violence, a social phenomenon which law enforcement agencies must not leave unpunished and should not tolerate.
It is vital for the parties to persevere and intensify, – in good faith and transparently –, their diplomatic efforts. This is not only possible but also an imperative. For that endeavour, they have our full support.
I believe, Mr. President, that we must rely on the professionalism and commitment of UNMIK, as well as KFOR and EULEX, and other international partners on the ground, in continuing to enforce their mandates, as they have done so far. My final words are of appreciation for and encouragement of their work.
I thank you.