29 February 2016 - Kosovo: Consolidating the rule of law must remain a priority [fr]
Kosovo - Security Council - Statement by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 29 February 2016
I too thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the comprehensive briefing on the situation he gave us from Pristina. I also thank the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Mr. Ivica Dačić, and the Ambassador of Kosovo, Ms. Vlora Çitaku, for their statements to the Security Council.
I would like to address three points: our support for the continuation of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, conducted under the auspices of the European Union; our firm condemnation of the violent methods of some opposition parliamentarians; and our ongoing commitment to the strengthening of the rule of law in Kosovo.
France welcomes the continuation of the political dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo under the auspices of the European Union. The recently holding of a new meeting of Serbian and Kosovar Prime Ministers in the presence of the High Representative of the European Union is a further demonstration of the commitment of Belgrade and Pristina for the process of bilateral rapprochement. Further progress has been made on this front in recent months. Integration of nearly 400 Serbian civil protection agents in various Kosovo institutions is a significant and symbolic step forward likely to strengthen the integration of the various communities in the country. Progress under way with respect to harmonizing diplomas, freedom of movement, air and rail integration will also have concrete positive impact on the everyday lives of Kosovar and Serbian citizens. We welcome this.
We expect, however, that all commitments undertaken in the framework of agreements concluded under the auspices of the European Union to be implemented without delay, including on the creation of the association of Serb-majority municipalities, which recently received a favourable opinion from the Constitutional Court of Pristina. This is a key element of the dialogue. The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina remains generally a prerequisite for their respective progress on the path of European integration.
The political situation in Kosovo is worrying. The current disruptions of the functioning of the Assembly are absolutely unacceptable, as are violence and other acts of intimidation against politicians. France calls on those responsible for these unacceptable acts to play the game of democracy and press their claims within the framework of existing institutions and in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Violence and hate rhetoric have no place in the society to which the overwhelming majority of Kosovo citizens aspires. They jeopardize the progress achieved by Kosovo patiently for over 10 years on the path of building an independent, modern and democratic State. We salute the professionalism and restraint by the Kosovo Security Forces and the mediation efforts carried out by the authorities in Pristina. We assure them once again of our full support.
The election of the new President was an important and necessary step in the proper functioning of institutions. We regret the behaviour of some members of the opposition on this occasion. Despite tensions, Kosovo authorities should seek to maintain dialogue and continue to listen to the people. Internal reforms are essential if citizens’ prospects for the future are to be restored. The implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement should lead in this direction by creating favourable conditions for necessary changes.
Continuing wholehearted efforts to consolidate the rule of law in Kosovo must more than ever remain a priority. This pertains first and foremost to the combat against impunity. The ratification last week by Kosovo of the headquarters agreement signed with the Government of the Netherlands to set up the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague is a bold step forward that we welcome. This is a clear reflection of the determination of Kosovo to implement its commitments in the area of the rule of law. It is now important that all components of these Specialist Chambers begin operating according to the planned timetable and that the Kosovar authorities cooperate fully, so that prosecution of those responsible for the crimes denounced in the Marty report can begin.
Continued work on the question of disappeared persons is also of great importance. The signing of a cooperation agreement on the exchange of information between Kosovo and Montenegro is a step in the right direction. Relaunching the dynamic of the Serb-Kosovar joint Working Group on this topic, however, is urgent. We hope that this work will benefit from the recent appointment by Pristina of the head of its delegation, which we welcome.
The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) also has an important role to play in this area. I would be grateful to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General if he could tell us about the measures planned for the implementation of recommendations in this area by the UNMIK International Human Rights Working Group, in particular regarding the prosecution of those responsible for violations and compensation for victims.
Consolidating the rule of law also means combating radicalization in all of its forms. France welcomes the unconditional commitment of Kosovo in this area both at the local level and in the context of the international coalition against Da’esh.
Finally, I take this opportunity to reiterate our support for the European Union Rule of Law Mission, which provides daily support for the rule of law and security in Kosovo.
I should like to conclude by recalling once again, as our colleague from the United Kingdom has just done, our wish that the Council finally review its timetable for consideration of this issue given the continued progress on the ground, particularly concerning the consolidation of Kosovar institutions and the bilateral dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.