Kosovo: considerable progress since the independence [fr]
Kosovo - Intervention of Ms. Anne Guegen, Deputy Permanent Representative, chargée d’Affaires a.i. - Security Council - 16 August 2017
"Once the new Government is in place, it should immediately resume the implementation of the reforms that are vital to Kosovo’s future: strengthening the rule of law — a sine qua non for European integration — economic development and full implementation of the European reform agenda." - Anne Guegen, Wednesday 16 August 2017
I thank Mr. Tanin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his briefing and for his work as Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). I would also like to thank Mr. Dačić, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, and Ambassador Çitaku of Kosovo for their statements.
Like others, I would like to begin by once again recalling our wish to see the timetable for the Security Council’s consideration of the situation in Kosovo reviewed. At a time when the Security Council is dealing with a constantly increasing workload, there can no longer be any justification for maintaining quarterly briefings on Kosovo, whose situation does not compare to the crises where the Council’s intensive engagement is essential. We also believe that the positive developments in institution-building in the past few years in Kosovo are grounds for refocusing UNMIK’s work and coordinating it with that of other international stakeholders in Kosovo. The current stasis is unsatisfactory given that it is our responsibility, as members of the Security Council, to ensure that United Nations efforts are fully adapted to the situation on the ground. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Kosovo today.
France welcomed Kosovo’s recent peaceful holding of parliamentary elections in the presence of many international observers. It is another successful element in the country’s efforts to build a peaceful parliamentary and democratic culture and another illustration of the considerable progress that has been made since independence. While the elections were transparent and peaceful in most of the country, they were marred by irregularities in places, showing that the electoral system needs further improvement. We also deplore the atmosphere of intimidation and violence directed at some candidates and voters in the Serbian municipalities of Kosovo.
Once the new Government is in place, it should immediately resume the implementation of the reforms that are vital to Kosovo’s future: strengthening the rule of law — a sine qua non for European integration — economic development and full implementation of the European reform agenda. It is equally crucial to ensure that the political parties that are not part of the new Government engage in constructive opposition and embrace a spirit of compromise. After the episodes of tension that erupted between Belgrade and Pristina in the past few months, we expect all stakeholders to work harder than ever to show responsibility and restraint. The resurgence of nationalist discourse, sometimes coloured by community references, is a danger to the stability in the region that the peoples of both Kosovo and Serbia desire.
France firmly believes that Kosovo’s future should no longer be a priority for the Council but that it belongs in the framework of a political dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina conducted under the auspices of the European Union. The European Union is very clear on this point. European integration for both countries is conditional on the normalization of their relations with each other. In that regard, it is important that they demonstrate goodwill and proactive commitment at the highest levels. Beyond simple declarations of intent, we expect all the agreements concluded in 2013 and 2015 to be put into effect as soon as possible, including that on the establishment of an association/community of Serb-majority municipalities, which is a key element in their dialogue.
We welcome the mediation efforts that the European Union and its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Federica Mogherini, have been making since the beginning of the year, and we hope that the meeting on 3 July of Presidents Thaçi and Vučić will genuinely revitalize the dialogue. We urge the Kosovo and Serbian authorities to intensify their efforts to achieve more concrete results in this area in the next few months. All sides must do their part by adopting a constructive attitude and refraining from any unnecessary provocations that could endanger the stability of the region.
Lastly, a continued effort to consolidate the rule of law in Kosovo must remain a priority. It is a very firm European requirement, one that we support, and there is still a great deal to be done where strengthening administrative capacity and justice and combating corruption and organized crime are concerned. It also involves fighting radicalization in all its forms, and we welcome Kosovo’s unconditional commitment in that regard, both locally and as part of the international coalition against Da’esh.