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17 June 2009 - Security Council: UNMIK - Statement by Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo

(translation of statement made in French)

I would like to thank Mr. Vuk Jeremić, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Mr. Skender Hyseni, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, for their presence.

I also wish to thank Mr. Lamberto Zannier, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his statement and for the work that he and his team are doing. We appreciate his work as the head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), in cooperation with the other international presences, first and foremost, of course, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX).

A year ago almost to the day, Kosovo adopted its Constitution. At that time, we called on the Kosovo authorities to rapidly implement all the provisions of the Constitution, which is exemplary in its adherence to European standards and values. The new authorities in Kosovo have honoured their commitments, in particular by adopting several laws essential to strengthening the rule of law and to the participation of minorities. In particular, the Government’s strong commitment to decentralization is a key decision in favour of the progressive building of a multi-ethnic Kosovo. The protection of the rights of minorities is a priority for the European Union, which will ensure the fulfilment of the commitments undertaken by the authorities in that area.

Despite some outbreaks of violence fanned by extremist elements often linked to criminal groups, the security situation in Kosovo has been remarkably stable in recent months. The population and all communities have thereby indicated their firm dedication to peace and stability.

Internationally, 60 States now recognize Kosovo. We also welcome Kosovo’s accession to membership of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, a move that is essential to the economic development of the country. Such developments will contribute to the emergence of a new State on the international stage and to stability throughout the Balkans.

The deployment of EULEX was completed on 6 April. As it has progressed, the inhabitants of Kosovo have come to see that, despite the negative propaganda spread by certain extremist groups, the European Mission is acting for the benefit of the entire population and all communities.

Pursuant to the reconfiguration of the international presence decided by the Secretary-General and endorsed by the Security Council in its presidential statement of 26 November 2008 (S/PRST/2008/44), EULEX is now responsible for all operational tasks in the rule of law sector that previously fell to UNMIK. The reconfiguration is in no way synonymous with a reduction of the international presence in Kosovo. On the contrary, it represents a robust step and testimony to the ongoing commitment of the international community.

As it does for all United Nations missions, the Security Council will have to consider the evolution of UNMIK’s mandate. In that respect, we believe that the proposals made by Mr. Zannier and by the Secretary-General in his report (S/2009/300) are quite appropriate.

Acting within the framework of resolution 1244 (1999) and under the overall authority of the United Nations, EULEX works in coordination with the other components of the international presence, in particular UNMIK, which continues to play a useful role. I wish to recall the importance that France attaches to the due cooperation of the Kosovo authorities with the United Nations.

The European Union, for its part, has followed the dialogue launched by the Secretary-General with all parties concerned on the reconfiguration of the international presence. The dialogue is key to stability in the region. We are well aware of the difficulties involved. The profound differences between the Serb and Kosovar authorities will not be settled overnight, but that should not prevent us from seeking together, through dialogue, practical solutions to the concrete problems that affect the lives of all the Kosovo communities.

We listened carefully to the statements made by Mr. Jeremić and Mr. Hyseni. We were pleased to note that, despite their ongoing differences, they have a shared interest in preserving the conditions for a common future within Europe. We therefore encourage Belgrade and Pristina to renew direct dialogue as soon as possible.

France particularly wishes to tell Mr. Jeremić that, in supporting the European initiatives to contribute to stability in the region, he will help to establish conditions for a common future for the West Balkans. That was the message that French President Sarkozy conveyed to President Tadić during the latter’s recent visit to Paris. At the same time, at a recent meeting of its General Affairs and External Relations Council, the European Union took another step forward by deciding to accelerate the process of visa liberalization for all the Balkan countries.

To Mr. Hyseni, we naturally wish to reiterate the support expressed by our President for Prime Minister Thaci during his visit to Paris, and to convey to him that it is through tangible progress towards a state of law and respect for neighbouring minorities and through an effort to forge bonds of friendship with Kosovo’s neighbours that his country will advance down the road to European integration.

The European Union is fully cognizant of its responsibilities for overcoming obstacles to a stable and prosperous future for the West Balkans. In that spirit, we will strive in the months to come to proceed towards a common future for Serbs and Kosovars in the framework of the European Union.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU