I thank Mr. Boris Tadić, President of the Republic of Serbia, and Mr. Skender Hyseni, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, for their presence and their statements. I welcome the actions of Special Representative of the Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier, who has effectively and pragmatically implemented the reconfiguration of the international presence decided by the Secretary-General with the support of the Security Council.
In his most recent report (S/2010/5), the Secretary-General notes the progress made in recent months in Kosovo, and in particular the decrease in acts of violence. Nearly two years since the Republic of Kosovo declared independence, the situation there today is encouraging. Tensions have been defused and all parties understand that the inhabitants of Kosovo, regardless of what communities they belong to, want above all to live in peace and their children to have a future that is prosperous as possible. That is their main and perfectly natural concern.
I welcome the engagement of the European Union, whose Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) is doing outstanding work to consolidate Kosovo’s institutions and to ensure the full implementation of their commitments to the rule of law. As the European Mission is consolidated, it would seem desirable to pursue the drawdown of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in response to the presence and actions of EULEX.
EULEX is working to the benefit of the entire population and all communities of Kosovo. In that respect, we welcome the Mission’s technical cooperation with the authorities of Kosovo’s neighbours, including police cooperation with Serbia. We count on the Republic of Serbia to pursue its cooperation with EULEX and, in particular, to allow justice to prevail in northern Kosovo.
France invites Serb and Kosovo authorities to live up to the great expectations of their citizens by devoting their energies and abilities to the real problems of economic development, infrastructure, dialogue and peace. We are convinced that Serbia will maintain its responsible attitude and adopt a constructive position vis-à-vis Kosovo. In that regard, France welcomes a new factor that has arisen since our last meeting on this issue. Serbia submitted its candidacy for membership of the European Union on 22 December, confirming a strategic orientation that we welcome and that it will have to translate into deeds.
For its part, Kosovo must focus on its central priorities and continue to move ahead in its commitment to the rule of law, good governance and human rights. Decentralization is an essential priority of Kosovo and a key to its success in creating a multi-ethnic society. To that end, we believe that the local elections of last November, organized by the Kosovar authorities, illustrate the encouraging progress that has been achieved. No one can object to such a democratic exercise.
Differences will long persist between Serbia and Kosovo. The essential thing is for both countries to share the same concern to maintain regional stability, which will require restraint so as not to fuel passions at a time when the people aspire to peace. The contrast between the impassioned rhetoric of some and the calm of the voters is testimony to that. The European Union will maintain its commitment to ensuring a stable and prosperous future for the entire West Balkans and to offering a common future to the Serbs, the Kosovars and the entire region.