France believes in a European future for Serbia and Kosovo [fr]
Statement by Ms. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 31 October 2019
I too would like to thank Mr. Zahir Tanin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, as well as Mr. Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, and Ms. Çitaku, Ambassador of Kosovo to the United States, for their statements.
Respectfully, I would like to remind all members that paragraph 22 of presidential note S/2017/507, on the Council’s methods of work, recommends that statements by invited speakers should last no longer than five minutes. I also believe it is equally important to ensure that our meetings are a place for constructive rather than polemic exchanges, which is essential if we want to work to overcome the traumas of the past — and we know how profound those traumas are.
With regard to the situation described by Mr. Tanin, I will briefly emphasize four points. First, I would like to congratulate the authorities and the people of Kosovo on the legislative elections held on 6 October, which represent an important moment in their lives as a democracy. As the European Union Election Observation Mission highlighted, the elections generally went well, despite attempts at intimidation in some places. We hope to see a new Government formed as soon as possible in order to enable it to implement reforms, especially in the area of the rule of law, which is the central criterion for the rapprochement of the countries of the region with the European Union.
Secondly, I also want to commend the work of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in support of the promotion of security, stability and respect for human rights in Kosovo and the region. France especially commends UNMIK’s activities aimed at bringing communities closer together and promoting the women and peace and security agenda, and in a way that complements the initiatives of other regional and international actors, particularly the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). The Special Representative informed us about the initial findings in the internal investigation of the incident involving two UNMIK personnel in May. Excessive physical force and disrespecting people’s personal spaces are unacceptable. The Kosovo authorities must explain how something like this could happen and that all parties put mechanisms in place that can ensure that such incidents never happen again.
Thirdly, I would like to come back to the key issue for which we should be mobilizing all of our efforts, which is the normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade in the context of the European Union-led dialogue. We deplore the fact that the dialogue has been interrupted for almost a year and hope that as soon as the new Kosovo Government is formed it will make it a priority and will find a committed partner in Belgrade. During his visit to Belgrade on 15 and 16 July, President Emmanuel Macron of France urged both parties to seek a compromise. The first step is a resumption of talks, and both parties should act quickly to take the necessary measures. As it stated at the 29 April summit in Berlin, France will continue its efforts in support of the work of the European Union and to move the dialogue forward with its European partners, particularly Germany.
Fourthly, I would like to reiterate that France believes firmly in a European future for Serbia and Kosovo. That involves making the necessary reforms to consolidate the rule of law. EULEX is contributing to that goal in Kosovo by focusing on the effectiveness, ethics and multi-community nature of the Kosovo judicial system. Beyond that, what is needed is a full normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, which is an essential condition of both countries’ European future, which itself can only be a shared future.
Finally, as this is the last Security Council meeting under the presidency of South Africa, I would like to commend the South African delegation for its leadership of the productive work we have done this month.