I should like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary- General for his briefing as well as the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Kosovo for their statements.
As the report of the Secretary-General (S/2012/818) points out, and as Mr. Zarif has just noted, we can be pleased with several developments that have taken place since last we met. I will mention three of them.
First, the end of the supervised independence of Kosovo on 10 September has opened a new chapter in history. This represents an opportunity that should be seized so as to consolidate the reality of a sovereign, democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo that is respectful of human rights and living in peace with its neighbours.
To that end, Pristina must convince the Kosovo Serbs that Serbs and Albanians have a common future and shared interests both in the north and in the south. They must give concrete assurances with respect to security and decentralization to Serbs in the north of Kosovo, exploring all the possibilities offered by the Ahtisaari plan. We view the establishment by the Kosovar authorities of the Mitrovica North administrative office as a step in the right direction, but we have to go even further in terms of political vision and public investment. Belgrade, for its part, must also contribute to the settlement of the issue, including by finding a solution to the question of illegal parallel structures in the north by eliminating security structures and integrating socioeconomic ones into the legal Kosovar framework.
We support the integration of Kosovo into the international community and its recognition by a growing number of States. The fact that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has decided to welcome Kosovo as a member will promote its economic and social development as well as regional stability.
Secondly, the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo held under the auspices of the European Union (EU) has resumed at a political level, that of heads of Government. That is an important gesture that confirms the will of both sides to normalize their relations within the framework of European rapprochement. We support, of course, the efforts made by Mrs. Ashton towards a comprehensive settlement of the issue that would allow both countries to fully devote their energies and their efforts to their European prospects.
We are encouraged by the progress made with respect to integrated border management. We hope that the agreements already reached will be implemented in good faith and that this new dynamic will make it possible to achieve progress in new areas for the greater benefit of the citizens of both countries.
Thirdly, the security situation remains calm despite a few incidents. We are closely following the situation in the north of Mitrovica. The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) office must demonstrate the required neutrality.
As the report of the Secretary-General underlines, it is crucial to strengthen the human rights of minorities in Kosovo, protect its religious and cultural heritage, and ensure the return of the 18,000 internally displaced persons and refugees in conditions conducive to security and reintegration. Respect for human rights is crucial for the stability of Kosovo.
We would recall also that the personnel of the Kosovo Force and the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) are responsible for ensuring freedom of movement in Kosovo, in accordance with resolution 1244 (1999). Any obstacle to their own freedom of movement is unacceptable.
The prospect of European integration should make it possible for Serbia and Kosovo to put conf lict behind them once and for all. The future of both countries is the European Union.
We hope that when the time comes we can reach the stage of membership negotiations with Serbia, once the conditions set out by the European Union have been fulfilled. France supports the negotiation of a stabilization and association agreement with Kosovo once the preconditions laid down by the European Commission have been met. In that respect, we encourage the Government of Kosovo to undertake the necessary reforms in the areas of the rule of law, public administration and the business environment.
We support the increased commitment of the European Union to Kosovo. It is crucial that the authorities of that country cooperate with the EULEX mission, especially in investigating allegations of organ trafficking. We are pleased that the EULEX report annexed to that of the Secretary-General provides the Security Council with information on the progress achieved, and we welcome Mr. Williamson’s interaction with the highest authorities of Serbia. It is also important for the Government of Kosovo to work closely with the European Union Special Representative and with the head of the European Union Office.
I should like to conclude by thanking the Special Representative and United Nations agencies in Kosovo for their efforts. We invite UNMIK to continue to cooperate with the other international organizations that are present there and to adapt its efforts to the evolving situation.
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