14 May 2012 - Security Coucil - Kosovo - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent representative of France at the United Nations
I would like to thank Special Representative of the Secretary-
General Farid Zarif for his briefing, as well as the
Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Kosovo for
their attendance today.
During our meeting last February, my delegation
said that it was cautiously optimistic about
developments in Kosovo (see S/PV.6713). I have been
comforted in that feeling by two developments that
have taken place since then.
First of all, thanks to the agreement reached
among Serbia, Kosovo and the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Serbian
voters in Kosovo holding dual nationality were able to
participate peacefully in Serbian legislative and
presidential elections on 6 May. I wish to thank the
Secretary General of the OSCE, his teams and the Irish
presidency of the organization for their efforts.
NATO’s preventive deployment of an additional
battalion and the presence of the European Union Rule
of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) helped to
maintain a safe environment during the election period.
But it is especially the restraint observed in statements
and actions in Belgrade and Pristina that I wish to
welcome. We hope that that attitude will be maintained
beyond 20 May, the date of the second round of the
Serbian presidential election, which we hope will be
just as calm as was the voting on 6 May.
Secondly, Serbia and Kosovo have progressed
towards European rapprochement. The granting of
candidate status to Serbia and the launching of a
feasibility study for a stabilization and association
agreement for Kosovo are tangible evidence of the
progress that has been made. The first development is
the outcome of efforts made by the Serbian authorities,
particularly in cooperating with the International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the
internal reforms that they have conducted. The granting
of status is also an incentive to follow through. The
second development reflects our determination that
Kosovo advance towards the European Union. The two
events were made possible by progress in the dialogue
between Belgrade and Pristina facilitated by the
European Union. We call on the two capitals to work
together to implement all of the agreements that they
have reached and to resume the dialogue as soon as
The European Union is also strengthening its
commitment in Kosovo, with EULEX being
reconfigured to take into account progress made in
administering Kosovo and to better adapt to the needs
of the country.
France is committed to the existence of a Kosovo
that is sovereign, stable, viable, peaceful, democratic
and multi-ethnic, which requires a long-term solution
to the question of the north of the country. The
Ahtisaari plan provides a solid basis for establishing
broad autonomy for the Serbians in the north,
consolidating the rights of minorities all over Kosovo
and protecting their religious heritage sites. We support
the decision to close the International Civilian Office
and hope that that will also be accompanied by a
commitment to implement all the provisions of the
An international presence must be maintained on
the ground as long as the security situation requires it.
That is particularly true in the north, where the free
movement of EULEX and Kosovo Force (KFOR)
personnel must be respected by all parties.
We take seriously the concerns expressed by the
Secretary-General about the small number of refugees
choosing to return to Kosovo. We call on the Kosovar
authorities to shed full light on malfeasance and
criminal acts, particularly those against Serbian
religious and cultural sites.
The rejection of impunity is also a responsibility
of the international community when it comes to the
most serious crimes. We have full confidence in the
EULEX Special Investigative Task Force and in
Prosecutor Williamson to investigate allegations of
disappearances and organ trafficking contained in the
report of Council of Europe Special Rapporteur,
Senator Marty. Considerable financial, technical and
human resources have been mobilized to conduct an
effective and impartial investigation.
The commitment of the Kosovar authorities and
Kosovo’s neighbouring States to fully cooperate with
Prosecutor Williamson is an additional guarantee. We
welcome in particular the decision taken by the
Government of Albania to adopt a law giving EULEX
the same powers as those conferred on the International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, including
the possibility of recording testimony outside the
presence of an Albanian magistrate or police officer.
The report of the Secretary-General (S/2012/275)
contains in its annex information on the work of the
Special Investigative Task Force. That effort at
communication must continue so that the Security
Council will be informed, as it has requested, while
respecting investigative secrecy and applicable
elementary rules of confidentiality.