I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Farid Zarif, for his briefing, as well as the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Mr. Ivan Mrkić, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Mr. Enver Hoxhaj, for their statements.
The Security Council is meeting for the second time since the historic agreement of 19 April between Serbia and Kosovo, reached under the auspices of the European Union. The agreement was quickly followed by regular meetings between the authorities of the two countries in order to ensure its implementation. The substantial progress that has been made shows their willingness to move towards normalized relations. We note with satisfaction the measures taken by Kosovo to grant substantial autonomy to the communities in Kosovo with a Serbian majority; similarly, we welcome the Serbian authorities’ closing of a number of police stations in northern Kosovo, thereby putting an end to the existence of independent parallel structures. We call on the parties to maintain their commitment to the Serb community in northern Kosovo in order to enable it to take ownership of the process of normalization. In that regard, the two parties should work together with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to ensure the success of the municipal elections scheduled for 3 November, by promoting the broadest possible participation of the Serbian community in Kosovo. It is crucial that the elections be transparent. Lastly, we call on the parties to arrive at an agreement in Brussels on 8 September on the issues of energy and telecommunication.
At the end of June, we reached a new milestone in the European rapprochement of these two countries. First, a decision was taken in principle to open EU accession negotiations with Serbia; the first intergovernmental conference will be held by January 2014 to enable Serbia to achieve its European destiny. Secondly, the European Council has approved the opening of negotiations aimed at signing a stabilization and association agreement with Kosovo. That first contractual link between the young State and the European Union ushers in a new phase for the European partners and is a tangible symbol of a European future for Pristina. Such positive developments require that the international community act on them. We therefore call on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to adapt its presence to the situation on the ground in Kosovo and in collaboration with the Kosovo authorities. UNMIK continues to carry out important but residual functions. It is also essential that the Kosovo authorities cooperate actively with the Special Representative of the European Union, Mr. Žbogar, and the European Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), which is carrying out crucial work in implementing the agreements arrived at in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. Lastly, all the parties must respect the freedom of movement of the soldiers and personnel deployed within the framework of the Kosovo Force and EULEX.
France remains committed to the realization of a sovereign, peaceful, democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo, living in peace with its neighbours. We believe that Serbia should become one of the pillars of stability in the Balkans, and today we are again a little closer to those two goals.
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