France welcomes Kosovo’s willingness to achieve a democratic public space - 26 May 2015 [fr]
Kosovo - Intervention by Mr Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 26 May 2015
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for presenting the most recent report of the Secretary-General (S/2015/303) on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Kosovo, Mr. Dačić and Mr. Thaçi, for their statements.
The Council met fewer than four months ago to discuss the situation in Kosovo (see S/PV.7377). The country, which was then coming out of a long-standing institutional crisis, was the scene of violent protests and it was feared that extremists and nationalist rhetoric would take over the national conversation. In that regard, we welcome the calm that has since prevailed in the Kosovo political landscape. We welcome in particular the constructive spirit adopted by the Pristina authorities, who have shown their willingness to advance towards the construction of a peaceful and democratic public space.
That favourable environment has enabled the country to finally resume the high-level dialogue with Serbia, as called for by the Security Council for several months now. We welcome the prospects opened by the 9 February meeting held in Brussels and commend the efforts to that end by the European Union and its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Federica Mogherini, who visited Belgrade and Pristina in late March. We give her our full support in this process.
The meeting in late March was an essential step towards the effective implementation of the Agreement of 19 April 2013, a prelude to the normalization of relations between the two countries that we earnestly desire. The agreement on justice signed on 9 February is another step towards the dismantling of the parallel Serbian structures in northern Ibar, which is necessary for the future of Kosovo as well as that of Serbia. We call on the parties to continue their exchanges while continuing to look to the future. It is no longer only a matter of working for the formal normalization of relations, but of rebuilding, in the long run, genuine neighbourly relations that are mutually beneficial. In that regard, the development of trade relations and the legal security of investments will play a key role.
The recent progress should not lead Kosovo or Serbia to abandon their efforts. The task ahead of Pristina remains important indeed. We recall in that regard the importance of establishing an association/community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo. We believe that such action is necessary if the Serbian population is to fully embrace their Kosovar citizenship and cease to consider themselves, wrongly, as foreigners. There is no question of establishing an enclave for Serbs, but instead of asserting forcefully that Kosovo, as a whole, is also their country. The unitary status of Kosovo will in no way be undermined by the creation of such a structure.
The future will also require the consolidation of the rule of law and therefore a fight against impunity. We note with satisfaction the steps taken by Pristina to establish specialized chambers to judge past crimes revealed by the European Union Special Investigative Task Force. We call for the rapid adoption by the Kosovo Assembly of the constitutional amendments and the law for the establishment of specialized chambers, previously scheduled for 21 May and now postponed to 29 May. I would also take this opportunity to reiterate our unwavering support for the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, which works every day for the rule of law and security in Kosovo. I cannot conclude without addressing the European perspective that we want for the entire region of the Balkans. In recent years, Serbia has made significant efforts to move closer to the European Union, through both internal reforms and improving relations with its neighbours. We congratulate them once again on these efforts. We encourage them to pursue the full implementation of the agreements concluded with Pristina and reiterate our desire to see it integrated into the European Union in the near future. We hope that the first stage of negotiations can now be opened quickly.
We know and support Kosovo’s desire to follow the same path. It will be long and difficult, but is nevertheless necessary for the future of the country. We know that the Kosovo leaders are fully aware of what is at stake. We reiterate our confidence in them and our full support to their efforts.