Belgrade and Pristina must move toward reconciliation [fr]
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 14 November 2018
I, too, would like to thank Mr. Zahir Tanin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, and Ms. Vlora Çitaku, Ambassador of Kosovo to the United States of America, for their briefings. I would like to very respectfully recall that, in accordance with the working methods of the Security Council, such statements should not exceed 15 minutes, as recalled in paragraph 56 of note S/2017/507. In the light of the situation described by the Special Representative and the report of the Secretary-General (S/2018/981), I will briefly underline three points.
The first concerns the mandate of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Notable efforts have been made to promote security, stability and respect for human rights in Kosovo and the region. That work deserves to be commended. France particularly welcomes UNMIK’s activities in bringing together communities and in promoting the women, peace and security agenda in cooperation with UN-Women. However, as has been underlined by several members at previous meetings and again today, we must continue to be attentive to the issue of refocusing UNMIK’s actions nearly 20 years after the adoption of resolution 1244 (1999), taking into account the situation on the ground, the performance of that peacekeeping operation and the initiatives led by other regional and international actors. I am thinking in particular of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX).
Secondly, the normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade also depends on the dialogue between the two leaders conducted under the auspices of the European Union. In that regard, we welcome the commitment of Ms. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the most recent meeting held in Brussels on Thursday, 8 November.
France calls on both sides to show a spirit of compromise and political will. We encourage the policymakers of both States to be up to the circumstances and to create the conditions for an agreement, which would be an essential step in the long-term stabilization of the Western Balkans and in moving towards the European perspective.
Finally, my third point concerns the European future of Kosovo and Serbia, which was clarified last March in the European Union’s strategy for the Western Balkans. In view of the merits at the heart of the European project, we emphasize the importance of the reforms needed to consolidate and to strengthen the rule of law. In Kosovo, EULEX contributes to that objective by focusing on the effectiveness, ethics and the multi-ethnic character of Kosovo’s justice system. However, the primary responsibility lies, of course, with the policymakers.
As we commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War, a spirit of reconciliation must prevail. We hope that Belgrade and Pristina will be able to move in that direction and reach an agreement on normalizing their relations.