I would like to thank Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and Kosovar Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni, both of whom we listened to with the utmost attention, for being here today.
As the Secretary-General’s special representative noted in his speech, the political and security situation in Kosovo is stable overall and continues to improve, despite incidents that were certainly tragic but isolated.
Politically, democratic institutions are steadily growing stronger. The institution of the rule of law in accordance with European standards and to the benefit of all Kosovars, regardless of their ethnic identity, is continuing with support from the EULEX mission. The easing of tensions, observed since the country’s independence, is an ongoing trend.
The international community has played and will continue to play an irreplaceable role in support of this positive dynamic. In this regard, I want to extol once again the work by Lamberto Zannier, the Secretary-General’s special representative, who effectively and pragmatically led UNMIK’s efforts in Kosovo, in close consultation with the EU.
Indeed, it is the EULEX Mission, working with the Kosovar authorities, that is making an essential contribution to Kosovo’s stability, notably through its work with the courts, the police and customs. We are delighted that its leader, Yves de Kermabon, had the opportunity to address the Security Council last month. His speech provided an opportunity to highlight the professionalism of the European Mission, acting in support of the Kosovar authorities and out of concern for constant dialogue with all the players on the ground.
In response to a request by the UN General Assembly, on July 22, the International Court of Justice issued a ruling on the compliance of Kosovo’s declaration of independence with international law. This opinion confirms that that declaration is neither contrary to international law nor to Resolution 1244. It marks an important step, putting a final end to the legal debate on this subject, which will enable all the parties to devote themselves to other pending issues.
This is no longer the time for quibbling and speculation. The ICJ’s opinion has definitively ended those pointless debates. Now we must work together to give the people of the region a future.
Kosovo and Serbia must now find a way to engage in political dialogue in order to pragmatically overcome concrete problems in the interest first and foremost of Kosovo’s Serb community. This dialogue, future-oriented by necessity, must be aimed at establishing good-neighbor relations, moving forward on the path of European integration, and improving the living standards of the local population. In so doing, it will contribute to the region’s stability.
In this new phase, the EU signaled, via its High Representative Catherine Ashton, its willingness to facilitate such a dialogue. Indeed, the two states, both Serbia and Kosovo, have the vocation to become EU member states, and their adhesion will presume that they’ve established normal relations as Member States, enabling them to work together on the European project.
This, most importantly, is what we want to draw from the speeches by Mr. Jeremic and Mr. Hyseni: a strong, common affirmation of their will to place the future of their two countries in the European framework. The swift engagement of dialogue that we call for will make it possible to create the conditions for a shared future within the European Union. They can count on France’s support when they commit themselves to this path.