France steadfastly stands beside Kosovo [fr]
Statement by Mrs Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 7 February 2018
I should like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and the Ambassador of Kosovo for their statements.
In the light of the situation described by the Special Representative, I should like to underscore three points.
1/ First, as this year marks the tenth anniversary of Kosovo’s independence, I should like to recall that France steadfastly stands beside Kosovo in supporting it in the building of its institutions and in its efforts to achieve economic and social development and establish itself on the international stage. Numerous efforts have been undertaken in terms of building institutions and achieving economic development. Kosovo is a peacekeeping success — a success story.
However, a great deal remains to be achieved, and Kosovo can count on our support in moving along that path. All are aware of our commitment to strengthening the rule of law and combating organized crime and corruption.We welcome the smooth conduct of the municipal elections of 22 October and 19 November last, which, following the legislative elections of June 2017, marked a milestone in Kosovo political affairs, even though, as was underscored by the European Union election observation mission, the climate of intimidation against some candidates and their voters in Serb municipalities of Kosovo is to be deplored.France also condemned the murder on 16 January of the Serb leader of Kosovo Oliver Ivanović and called for the circumstances to be brought to light. France, like its American and European partners, voiced its concerns at the attempt to call into question the Specialist Chambers for Kosovo, and a Franco-German mission visited Pristina to express that concern. We have duly taken note of the political commitment of the Kosovar authorities not to abrogate the law, as was just mentioned by Ms. Çitaku, and we trust that this plan will be definitively abandoned very shortly.
2/ Secondly, in the light of the information provided by the Special Representative every three months, the Security Council must focus on the issue of refocusing UNMIK efforts and coordinating them with other international actors with a presence in Kosovo. At a time when the discussion is focusing on the future of peacekeeping operations, the responsibility that we shoulder as members of the Security Council is indeed to ensure that the means deployed by the United Nations are tailored fully to the situation on the ground.To that end, UNMIK and the United Nations must continue to support the efforts of the EU and its European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo for peace, progress and stability in Kosovo.
3/ I shall end on a third point: the future of Kosovo. France believes that this is a priority in the political dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina conducted under the auspices of the European Union. The European Union is very clear in that regard: for both Serbia and Kosovo, rapprochement with the European Union is conditioned upon the complete normalization of their relations. France fully supports the mediation efforts led by the European Union and its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Federica Mogherini.The launch in Serbia of an internal dialogue on Kosovo is a positive sign, and the Serbian and Kosovar authorities have voiced their hope for giving new impetus to dialogue with a view to achieving full normalization of their relations.
France fully supports this approach, which is critical for lasting peace and stability in the Western Balkans. Each side must do its part by adopting a constructive attitude and refraining from any unnecessary, or even dangerous, provocation. We also underline the importance of efforts to promote reconciliation and bringing communities closer together.
In conclusion, I would like to stress that the lasting solution to the conflict lies in making common cause with the European Union. The future of the Western Balkans is in joining the European Union, as High Representative Mogherini stressed yesterday while pointing out that 2025 was the horizon to which we must aspire and that the prospects for reaching it are realistic.