29 November 2011 - Security Council - Kosovo
Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I would like to thank Mr. Vuk Jeremić, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, and Mr. Enver Hoxhaj, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, for their statements. I also congratulate Mr. Farid Zarif on his appointment.
The situation in northern Kosovo has been the subject of numerous Council meetings since the end of July, and I will therefore skip the origins and evolution of the incidents, which have been covered in detail in the Secretary-General’s report (S/2011/675). However, new confrontations have recently occurred that have resulted in about 25 wounded Kosovo Force (KFOR) soldiers, among whom two were hit by bullets. Such violent attacks against the international mission charged with guaranteeing the safety of the civilian populations are unacceptable. France condemns those deliberate attacks against staff of NATO and the European Union, who are carrying out tasks under a United Nations mandate.
The responses of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and KFOR in confronting those acts of violence have been adequate and proportional. Those interventions in consultation with the local authorities have led to reduced tensions, but the roadblocks in northern Kosovo continue to impede implementation of the international contingents’ mandate and to make civilian life difficult.
We therefore call for the immediate removal of the roadblocks and for respect for the right of freedom of movement in accordance with resolution 1244 (1999). A return to calm is above all in the interest of the inhabitants of northern Kosovo, who are the first to suffer from the impediments to free movement. Neither the international community nor neighbouring States desire to see the inhabitants or their territory isolated or subject to control by the criminal networks responsible for violence, which is not motivated by nationalism, but because border controls make the trafficking by which they earn their living more difficult. Our adversary is the organized criminal networks that manipulate the population, not the population itself.
The resumption of commercial relations between Serbia and Kosovo, the EULEX presence at Gates 1 and 31 in conformity with its 2008 United Nations mandate, and the return to dialogue facilitated by the European Union between Belgrade and Pristina on 21 November and tomorrow, 30 November, are positive developments that must be encouraged. A return to calm is in the interests of Belgrade and Pristina, which want to move closer to the European Union. The differences between the parties must be resolved through dialogue and a spirit of compromise. We call upon Serbia and Kosovo to pursue that dialogue responsibly and to focus their efforts on accession to the European Union, based on the recommendations contained in the last progress report of the European Commission and to abstain from all acts, and statements that could worsen tensions.
Finally, we welcome Mr. Williamson’s appointment to lead the EULEX Special Investigative Task Force in charge of investigating the allegations of illicit trafficking in human organs, as described in the report of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which was published at the end of 2010. France calls upon all States of the region to promote cooperation with EULEX and welcomes their expressed readiness to cooperate with the investigation. EULEX thus has the resources to undertake a credible investigation that should be carried out calmly without any undue influence being brought to bear in the context of dialogue.