(translation of statement made in French)
I wish to begin by thanking Mr. Vuk Jeremić, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia and Mr. Skender Hyseni, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, for their presence. We have listened to them with great care. I also commend the work of Mr. Lamberto Zannier, Special Representative of the Secretary-General who in a very effective and pragmatic way has implemented the reconfiguration of the international presence created by the Secretary-General with the support of the Security Council.
More than a year and a half have passed since Kosovo’s declaration of independence. What lessons can we draw? Kosovo’s independence has contributed to strengthening security and stability, by putting an end to two decades of violence and defiance. The rights of minorities are respected in conformity with the commitments undertaken by Kosovo authorities by accepting the plan elaborated by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Martti Ahtisaari.
This outcome is the result of the work of all the men and women who have worked within the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for ten years. It is also the result of the work of the European Union with the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and its essential support in helping the authorities in Kosovo to set up a State of law and solid institutions for the good of the people of Kosovo. It is also the result of the work of Kosovars who placed their confidence in the international community. It is the result of the work of Serbs who chose the path of reason and of doing their utmost to ensure that Kosovo would develop in peace and calm for the good of all its communities.
Of course, difficulties remain. But France believes that if we take a step back to look at all the very real imperfections in the field, it can be said that, generally speaking, the Government of Kosovo has acted in a responsible way and fulfilled its commitments. The creation of a Constitution in conformity with European norms and values and the adoption of laws promoting the participation of minorities are all important steps towards a State of law at the service of all of the inhabitants of Kosovo, without regard to their community alliances.
The reorganization of the international presence took place in very good conditions. The European Union is now providing essential support through deployment of EULEX which assists in building the institutions of a State of law in Kosovo in the framework of resolution 1244 (1999). The European Mission is pursuing a twofold objective: to help the authorities in Kosovo to consolidate the institutions put in place with UNMIK’s assistance, and to ensure the full implementation of the commitments that they have undertaken concerning the rule of law. In that context, the role of Serbia is, of course, essential. We welcome the Mission’s technical cooperation with the authorities of Kosovo’s neighbours — including, of course, Serbia — in the area of law enforcement.
We are aware of what Kosovo’s independence represents for Serbia. Nevertheless, we call on Serbia to maintain its responsible attitude and to focus its efforts on its future integration into the European Union. France, which does not forget a long shared history, is counting on Serbia to contribute to stability in a difficult region. The statement just made by Mr. Jeremić confirms that intention.
We listened attentively to Mr. Hyseni. The commitment to the rule of law, the desire to build a multi-ethnic State that respects minorities, the will to nurture friendly relations with Kosovo’s neighbours and the pro-European commitment of the Kosovo authorities that the Foreign Minister just reiterated are strong commitments that should be commended.
Once again, we have just seen evidence of the persistence of differences between Serbia and Kosovo. We regret that a legal and political guerrilla war is under way that is sterile and does not correspond with public opinion in both countries in favour of overcoming the crisis and turning to the future. The people are sometimes ahead of their Government.
However, we must also highlight the concern shared by the Serbian and Kosovo authorities to maintain stability in the region and to preserve the conditions for a shared future within Europe. We encourage Belgrade and Pristina to resume direct dialogue as swiftly as possible. The European Union, for its part, will remain committed to ensuring a stable and prosperous future for the Western Balkans as a whole and to offering a shared future to Serbs and Kosovars within the framework of our European adventure.