21 August 2012 - Kosovo - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I wish at the outset to thank the Prime Minister of
the Republic of Serbia and the Prime Minister of the
Republic of Kosovo for their statements. I also welcome
the presence among us of Mr. Farid Zarif, Special
Representative of the Secretary-General.
As the key issues have already been discussed, I
shall restrict myself to the following three points.
First, the end of Kosovo’s supervised independence
on 10 September is an opportunity that should be seized,
not to revisit past legal controversies but to consolidate
a sovereign, peaceful, democratic and multi-ethnic
Kosovo living in peace with its neighbours. That will
require the early resumption of dialogue between Serbia
and Kosovo under the auspices of the European Union.
In that regard, we are encouraged by the statements
made by the new Serbian authorities indicating their
determination to make progress and to implement,
at an early date, existing agreements. Pristina must
also convince the Kosovo Serbs that the Serbs and
the Albanians share a common destiny and have
common interests both north and south of the river
Ibar, and Belgrade, for its part, must dismantle the
parallel structures that have been set up in the north.
It is essential to consolidate the rights of minorities
throughout Kosovo, to continue to protect their cultural and religious heritage, and to ensure the return of
refugees in suitable conditions.
Secondly, the prospect of European integration
must enable Serbia and Kosovo to turn the page on
past conf licts. The future of the two countries lies
within the European Union. The granting of candidate
status to Serbia and the launching of a feasibility study
with regard to a stabilization and association pact for
Kosovo are tangible elements of the progress that has
been achieved. They have been made possible by the
dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which has
been bearing fruit since March 2011.
The European Union will now focus its efforts
on supporting political dialogue between the two
parties and ensuring compliance with past agreements
between the two capitals. On the ground, the European
Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and
the Kosovo Force (KFOR) will continue to support
the peaceful transition and will focus on establishing
the rule of law and freedom of movement in northern
Kosovo, restructuring their presence accordingly.
The United Nations Interim Administration Mission
in Kosovo must take note of these developments. The
international presence in Kosovo will not be there
indefinitely. As Kosovo institutions mature, they will
be increasingly up to the task of ensuring the security
and political rights of minorities.
Thirdly, the region is not condemned to a cycle
of violence or conf lict. The situation on the ground
is headed in the right direction, although it remains
fragile. Soldiers and individuals deployed under KFOR
and EULEX are responsible for ensuring respect for
freedom of movement in Kosovo, pursuant to resolution
1244 (1999). Any obstacle to their own freedom of
movement and any acts of violence against them must
be unambiguously condemned.
Finally, the lack of consensus within the
international community should not serve as a pretext
for a lack of action. Dual-national Kosovo Serbs living
in Kosovo were able to participate peacefully in the
legislative and presidential elections held in Serbia.
The transfer of security responsibilities at the Dević
Convent to the Kosovo police also took place in a
satisfactory manner — clear evidence of the fact that
when there is political will on the part of both parties,
agreements are possible, and can even be expedited,
even on the most sensitive issues.