I would like to thank Mr. Vuk Jeremić, Minister for Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, and Mrs. Vlora Çitaku, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, for their presence here today and for the statements they delivered. I also welcome Mr. Lamberto Zannier, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and commend the work he and the entire staff of his Mission are carrying out in Kosovo.
Tomorrow, Kosovo will celebrate the third anniversary of its independence. What assessment can be made of the development of this young State? First of all, everyone must agree that the fear that chaos would ensue, expressed by some at the time of the declaration of independence, was unfounded. The institutional framework that Kosovo set out for itself is being respected by its authorities and supported by its population. Legislative elections were held in December. They went well overall — better than in many other countries that are older than Kosovo.
As the Secretary-General noted in his report (S/2011/43), the level of participation by Kosovar Serbs in those elections was the highest since 2001. The Security Council has every reason to congratulate
itself for this. Whatever our positions are on the question of status, this high participation rate proves
the greater maturity on the part of the population and shows their willingness to share a common future.
To date, 75 States have recognized Kosovo. Each recognition brings greater stability to Kosovo and to the entire region. But these recognitions are not enough. Kosovo must indeed still make progress in many areas. The rule of law must be strengthened, and this must be accomplished through a strengthening of institutions and of the fight against corruption and organized crime. Judicial institutions must be consolidated.
In his report, the Secretary-General characterizes the security situation as relatively calm but potentially volatile. While incidents are, thankfully, less frequent than they were a few years ago, there are still too many of them. It is unacceptable that vehicles driven by Serbs are the target of rock-throwing, even if these attacks are essentially symbolic. Moreover, the actions of Serb extremists in the north of Kosovo are equally unacceptable. Acts of intimidation and pressure by these extremists directed against the Serbs in the north of Kosovo and aimed at preventing them from living on good terms with all of the communities must not be tolerated. The experience of Serbs living south of the Ibar River, in particular in the new municipalities created under the Ahtisaari plan, shows that peaceful coexistence is possible.
A process of dialogue must be established soon between the two neighbouring States. The European Union is ready to facilitate this dialogue, which we hope to see begin as soon as the Government of Kosovo is formed. For this dialogue, which will have to do with technical subjects of common interest, to be fruitful and bring about concrete results for the population, it must take place without interference by one country in the territory of the other.
All of the States of the former Yugoslavia have been granted the same chance at achieving European integration. Each one is making progress at its own pace in this process of European rapprochement. One of these States has already joined the European Union. However, the horrors of the war years remain ever-present for the populations concerned. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has carried out exemplary work and has ensured that justice is done. Two accused remain to be arrested as soon as possible to answer for their actions.
A disturbing report adopted recently by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe included allegations — presented in the hypothetical — of organ trafficking that allegedly took place in Kosovo and Albania at the end of the war. An inquiry carried out several years ago on the basis of the same rumours failed to confirm those rumours. We would like for light to be definitively shed on this matter and for the proof, if it exists — and until now it has not been presented — to be provided to the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, which has the mandate and capacity to successfully carry out the necessary investigations.
A new Government will take office in Kosovo. It must spare no effort in helping the young State continue to make progress. Many different tasks will have to be tackled at once: the rule of law, good governance, the fight against corruption, inter-community dialogue, economic reconstruction, dialogue with Serbia and the strengthening of its international relations.
For its part, France will continue to closely follow the situation in Kosovo and will help it come into line with European norms, as we are also doing today with Serbia.