Kosovo, Serbia: bilateral rapprochement [fr]
Kosovo - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 16 May 2016
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Tanin, for his very comprehensive briefing on the situation, and assure him yet again of our full support in the exercise of his mandate. I also thank the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and the Ambassador of Kosovo for their statements.
France actively supports the pursuit of political dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo under European Union auspices. The recent convening of a meeting between the Serb and Kosovo Prime Ministers, with the participation of the High-Representative of the European Union, was a further demonstration of the commitment of Belgrade and Pristina to the process of bilateral rapprochement. Fresh headway has been seen this area in recent months, in particular the integration of former officials of the Serb Interior Ministry into Kosovar institutions, as well as the entry into force in March of the agreement on the mutual recognition of diplomas. We welcome those steps.
We are eager to see all commitments signed within the framework of the agreements concluded under the auspices of the European Union implemented as soon as possible, including the creation of the association/community of Serb majority municipalities, which is a cornerstone of the dialogue. The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina remains in general terms a sine qua non for their respective progress along the path of European integration. We therefore urge the Kosovo and Serb authorities to intensify their efforts to pursue dialogue in order to produce further concrete results in the coming months.
France remains concerned by the behaviour of a minority of the Kosovo opposition. Further disruptions of the work of the Assembly and violence and other acts of intimidation of elected officials are completely unacceptable. France calls on those responsible for such unacceptable actions to adhere to the standards of democracy and to express their concerns in the framework of existing institutions and with respect for the provisions of the Constitution. Violence and hate speech have no place in a society to which the overwhelming majority of Kosovo citizens aspire. Such actions imperil the progress patiently achieved by Kosovo for more than 10 years in the process of forging an independent, modern and democratic State. Despite these tensions, the Kosovo authorities must seek to keep the channels of dialogue open and continue to pay heed to the population. Domestic reforms are crucial to giving citizens new hope. The implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement must work to that end by fostering conditions conducive to the required change. The Kosovo authorities can count on our full support in that area.
Pursuing the efforts undertaken to entrench the rule of law in Kosovo must remain a greater priority than ever. That will entail first and foremost addressing impunity. The speedy ratification by the Kosovo President of the host agreement signed with the Government of the Netherlands as a precursor to the establishment of specialist chambers in The Hague is a decisive step forward, which we welcome. It is a clear demonstration of Kosovo’s willingness to honour its commitments in the area of the rule of law. It is important going forward that all components of the specialist court take up their work according to the established timeline and that the Kosovo authorities cooperate fully to ensure that the prosecutions of those responsible for the crimes contained in the Marty report can commence.
The ongoing work on the issue of disappeared persons is also essential. In that regard, we welcome the recent appointment by Pristina of a Chair of delegation to the Joint Working Group on Missing Persons. We hope that it will provide an opportunity to give fresh impetus to the work of that body. The consolidation of the rule of law will involve the fight against radicalization in all its forms. France welcomes the unconditional engagement of Kosovo in that area, both at the local level as well as through the membership of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. I take this opportunity to reiterate our support for the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, which works daily to uphold the rule of law and security in Kosovo.
France will continue to support the efforts of the Kosovo authorities to achieve international recognition for their State. We welcome the recent admission of Kosovo as the fifty-fifth member of the Union of European Football Associations, coming as its does just days before the kickoff of 2016 European Championships in France. We also actively support Kosovo’s candidacy to INTERPOL and the Council of Europe, and the strengthening of Kosovo’s status within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
I conclude by again recalling our hope for the continuation of the progressive transfer of the competencies of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo to the Kosovo authorities, and for a review of the reporting cycle in the Council of the situation in Kosovo, given the ongoing progress seen on the ground, particularly as concerns the consolidation of Kosovo institutions and the bilateral dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.