16 May 2017 - Kosovo: France reaffirms its support for reconciliation [fr]
Kosovo - Statement by Mrs Marie Audouard, Deputy Political Coordinator of the Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 16 May 2017
Allow me to thank Mr. Tanin for his briefing, as well as the representatives of Serbia and Kosovo for their statements.At the outset, I would like to reiterate, once again, and as others before me have done, our wish that the Security Council review how frequently it considers the situation in Kosovo. With the Council facing an ever-increasing workload, there is no longer any justification for maintaining quarterly briefings on the Kosovo issue, which is not comparable to that of crises for which the Council’s robust engagement is essential.
We believe that the positive developments in Kosovo in recent years in terms of institution-building also justify efforts to refocus the actions of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) as well as their coordination with other international actors in Kosovo. We once again call on the Secretary-General to make recommendations on this issue in his next report. The current standstill is unacceptable given that it is our responsibility as members of the Security Council to ensure that the measures taken by the United Nations are fully adapted to the situation on the ground. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case at present.
France is convinced that the future of Kosovo is no longer an urgent Council matter; rather, it falls within the context of the European-Union-led political dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
In that regard, it is important that the parties demonstrate the highest level of proactive commitment. Beyond mere declarations of intent, we expect that all of the agreements reached will be effectively implemented as soon as possible, including the agreement on the establishment of the association/community of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo, which is a key aspect of the dialogue. We therefore call on the Kosovo and Serbian authorities to intensify their efforts, particularly on that last point, in order to produce more concrete results in the months to come. That is a subject that we will continue to follow closely.
The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina remains, in general, a prerequisite for their respective progress on the path to European integration, which was again encouraged at the European Council on 9 and 10 March.
After the episodes of unrest in recent months, we expect more than ever that all actors show responsibility and restraint, a point that is all the more important in view of the upcoming elections in Kosovo.
France is convinced that the resurgence of nationalist discourse, sometimes tinged with community-based references, poses a threat to the stability of the region, to which the peoples of Kosovo and Serbia both aspire.
In that regard, the agreement recently reached at the local level as to the demolition of the Mitrovica wall is a positive example, showing that concrete solutions can be found to foster coexistence between communities, free from political provocation and any divisive rhetoric. The fact that the recent involvement of Serbian citizens living in Kosovo in the Serbian presidential election was not accompanied by any serious incidents, thanks to the work of the Kosovo and Serbian electoral institutions and the support of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is another encouraging development that we welcome. Lastly, President Thaçi’s choice to favour an inclusive approach with regard to a possible transformation of the status of the Kosovo security forces is also one likely to avoid an escalation of tensions, which would be as unnecessary as it would be dangerous.
Continued efforts by Kosovo to consolidate the rule of law must also remain a priority. That includes the fight against radicalization in all of its forms. We welcome the unconditional commitment of Kosovo in that regard, both locally and within the global coalition against Da’esh.
Finally, I conclude my remarks by recalling France’s commitment to the relationship of trust that we have traditionally maintained with Serbia and Kosovo, as well as our support for reconciliation in the region and the implementation of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. In that regard, allow me to point out that the French judiciary independently rendered a decision in the Haradinaj case. French authorities cannot comment on that judicial decision, but it should in no way be interpreted politically.