Continuation of efforts to consolidate the rule of law in Kosovo must remain a priority [fr]
Kosovo - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, chargé d’Affaires a.i. - Security Council - 25 August 2016
I, too, thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, Mr. Zahir Tanin, for his briefing. I assure him once again of our support in the exercise of his functions. I also thank the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic Serbia, Mr. Ivica Dačić, and Kosovo’s Ambassador, Ms. Vlora Çitaku, for their statements.
The future of Kosovo and its regional integration no longer primarily plays out in the Security Council, but in the framework of the political dialogue held under the auspices of the European Union. New progress has been made on that front in recent months, in particular with the start of work on the bridge in Mitrovica, which we welcome.
Nevertheless, those advances are not enough. We expect that all the commitments made in the context of the agreements concluded under the auspices of the European Union will be implemented as soon as possible, including with regard to the setting up of an association/community of Serb-majority municipalities, which is a key element of the dialogue. We therefore urgently call upon the Kosovar and Serbian authorities to intensify their efforts to produce further concrete results in the coming months. It is particularly important that the dialogue at the political level can resume as soon as possible.
The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina remains generally a vital prerequisite for their respective progress on the path towards European integration, which was once again encouraged at the Paris-Balkans 2016 Summit, held on 4 July.
The continuation of efforts to consolidate the rule of law in Kosovo must also remain a priority. That first concerns the fight against impunity. We had already had an opportunity to welcome the swift ratification by the President of Kosovo of the headquarters agreement signed with the Dutch Government for the installation of Specialist Chambers in The Hague. That is a crucial step. We know that the Kosovo authorities work to enable all components of the Specialist Chambers to start functioning as soon as possible and to take action against those responsible for the crimes set out in the Marty report. We encourage them to continue along that path.
The consolidation of the rule of law also involves the fight against radicalization in all its forms. France welcomes the unconditional commitment of Kosovo in that area, both locally and in the international coalition against Da’esh. I also take this opportunity to reiterate our support for the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, which contributes every day to the rule of law and security in Kosovo and whose mandate was just renewed by the Council of the European Union.
France also welcomes the relative decline in tension registered in Kosovo’s internal political scene since the presidential election in February. The building of an independent, modern, democratic State also entails the establishment of a peaceful and responsible dialogue among the various stakeholders of the political scene, in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution and in the framework of existing institutions. Violence, hateful rhetoric and disruptions in the proceedings of the legitimately elected Assembly have no place in the type of society that the overwhelming majority of Kosovar citizens aspire to. We will therefore continue to condemn them with the same firmness, whatever the reasons. We also remain concerned about the persistence of incidents against members of minority communities and against religious and cultural heritage sites.
It is important that the Kosovo authorities continue to make efforts in favour of dialogue among the different political forces and for the establishment of a peaceful and inclusive society. The reforms implemented in the framework of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union are already leading in that direction. Kosovo can count on our full support in that regard.
Finally, France continues to support the efforts of the Kosovar authorities to achieve international recognition of their State. Kosovo’s participation in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, crowned by the country’s first Olympic gold medal, in judo, is an important symbolic step in that regard.
I conclude by recalling once again our hope for a continued gradual transfer of competencies from the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo to the State’s authorities, as well as for a review of the cycle of the Council’s review of the situation in Kosovo, in view of the continuous progress with regard to the consolidation of Kosovo’s institutions and the bilateral dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. Our debates seem to be out of sync with those encouraging developments.