I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for his briefing and Mr. Ivica Dačić, Prime Minster of Serbia, and Mr. Hashim Thaçi, Prime Minister of Kosovo, for their statements.
The Security Council is meeting for the first time since the historic agreement of 19 April was achieved between Serbia and Kosovo under the auspices of the European Union. The agreement lays the bases for normalized relations that will contribute to regional stability and enable the people to turn towards their future, the development of their countries and their European prospects. We commend the Serb and Kosovo authorities, particularly the two Prime Ministers, who have been personally committed to that difficult exercise, for their determination and courage. Their statements before the Council today represent a new demonstration of their spirit of cooperation. We call upon them to ensure the swift implementation of the agreement, pursuant to the road map of 22 May.
Serbia must steadily dismantle the parallel sovereign structures that it maintains in the north, pursuant to its commitment. For its part, Kosovo must provide the future community of majority-Serb areas with substantive autonomy, as provided for in the 19 April agreement, in order to reassure the northern Serbian population and allow it to find its lasting place in Kosovo.
Generally speaking, it is clearly important to ensure that the rights of the various communities throughout the territory, especially concerning their cultural and religious heritage, are protected. The two parties must work to successfully achieve the municipal elections scheduled in the autumn, in cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The previously concluded agreements must also be fully implemented.
If the conclusions reached by the European Council at its December 2012 meeting are met, by the end of June new milestones on the two countries’ paths to Europe — including the launching of negotiations with Serbia on accession to the European Union and a stabilization and association agreement with Kosovo — could be reached. The international community must acknowledge those positive developments and cast off the paradigms of a bygone era. Kosovo has now been recognized by the majority of the States Members of the Organization, reflecting the reality of a State that aspires to good relations with its neighbours and peaceful integration within its region and to find its proper place in the international community.
As the European Union, NATO and the OSCE adjust their presence on the ground, we encourage the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to do the same with a view to promoting peaceful conduct, in cooperation with the Kosovo authorities, while avoiding the undue influence of those who champion the status quo. In that context, I wish to thank the Special Representative and the UNMIK actors for their efforts.
It is also essential that the Kosovo authorities actively cooperate with the Special Representative of the European Union, Mr. Žbogar, and the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), as they carry out crucial work to implement the dialogue agreements between Belgrade and Pristina and combat corruption, organized crime and impunity for the most heinous crimes, including alleged trafficking in organs. All parties must respect the freedom of movement of troops and personnel deployed under the Kosovo Force and EULEX.
France remains committed to the reality of a sovereign, peaceful, democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo living in peace with its neighbours. It believes that Serbia must become one of the pillars of stability in the Balkans. Today, we have inched a bit closer to those two goals.
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