United Nations Security Council, Public Meeting on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo; Statement by Ambassador Gerhard Pfanzelter, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, on behalf of the European Union.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia? and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
Let me begin by thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, Mr. Søren Jessen-Petersen, for his briefing and by reiterating the European Unions full support for his work. We would also like to warmly welcome the participation of the President of Serbias Kosovo Coordinating Centre, Sanda Raskovic-Ivic. At the same time, we also warmly welcome the presence of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Agim Ceku, in the delegation headed by Mr. Jessen-Petersen.
Two years ago, Mr. Jessen-Petersen took up leadership of the UN Mission in Kosovo in a very difficult phase and has since made a decisive contribution to the stabilisation and development of Kosovo. We would particularly like to thank him for his tireless efforts towards the goal of a multi-ethnic Kosovo in which all inhabitants can live in peace and dignity.
The main task of Mr. Jessen-Petersens successor will now be to continue this work while at the same time preparing the transition from the current UN administration to an international presence after the determination of the future status of Kosovo. The sustainable implementation of all standards by the Kosovo institutions will be of crucial importance for the European future of Kosovo.
At the last meeting of the Security Council on Kosovo, we urged Kosovos institutions to renew their efforts to ensure substantive, accelerated and sustainable progress in the implementation of the standards, especially in key areas such as returns, equal access to justice, and the preservation of cultural heritage. Like the Secretary-General, the EU welcomes the renewed vigour in the implementation of standards and expects that concrete and demonstrable results will follow. Nonetheless, the EU remains disappointed with the low numbers of returns. To ensure tangible improvements in the conditions on the ground, not only political but also financial commitment at all levels is required. In this regard both Pristina and Belgrade have a role to play and we welcome the recent signature of the Protocol on Returns on 6 June 2006.
The EU welcomes the renewed vigour in the implementation of standards and underlines that real progress in this regard remains an essential factor in determining progress in the political process to determine Kosovos future status. At the same time, accelerated implementation of standards should not be viewed just as a goal in itself or only as a way to a decision on the future status of Kosovo. Effective standards implementation, including dialogue and outreach to Kosovos minority communities, leading to a sustainable democratic and multiethnic society, is also a prerequisite for the fulfilment of Kosovos European perspective. The Partnership for Kosovo adopted by the EU last December incorporates the standards as requirements for Kosovos long-term European perspective, thereby underscoring that their effective implementation must continue to be the primary focus of efforts by the Provisional Institutions throughout and beyond the status process.
The European Union shares the Secretary-Generals assessment that increased outreach to all of Kosovos communities, particularly Serbian, by Kosovos leaders is welcome. However this process needs to go hand-in-hand with a change in attitudes within Kosovo. Indeed, all people in Kosovo have a responsibility and a role to play in implementing the standards. We therefore call upon the leaders and the population in Kosovo, but also Belgrade, to increase their efforts to engage in reconciliation and the promotion of confidence across communities. In doing so, they must not tolerate any violence, and those responsible for committing acts of violence must be brought to justice. Such efforts should be acknowledged and not dismissed.
We also believe that it is equally essential that Kosovo Serbs rejoin the provisional institutions at all levels and actively engage in them. We share the Secretary-Generals concern about reports of pressure on Kosovo Serbs to withdraw from positions within the Provisional Institutions and call upon the authorities in Belgrade to encourage, rather than discourage the Kosovo Serb leaders to participate constructively in the Provisional Institutions. To do so would allow the Serb community to engage in shaping their political future within Kosovo and contribute to improvements in their living conditions.. The EU encourages concrete steps in this regard. At the same time, leaders on all sides will have to prepare their populations for difficult compromises ahead.
The European Union has consistently attached particular importance to the establishment of a substantial dialogue between all Kosovo communities, as well as between Belgrade and Pristina. The EU strongly urges both Belgrade and Pristina to work towards a lasting Kosovo Status Agreement that promotes a multi-ethnic and democratic society and regional stability.
On 16 June, the Heads of State and Government of the EU reaffirmed their support to the ongoing talks about the future status of Kosovo led by Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari. In this regard, it should be noted that at their meeting in Salzburg in March the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the European Union, the acceding states, the candidate states, the potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans had reiterated that every effort should be made to engage in good faith in the status process in order to find realistic solutions.
The European Union has been steadfastly at the side of Kosovo and its inhabitants throughout the post-conflict period and has provided a major part of international aid, economic access, political support and reform advice. It is clear that Kosovo will require an international presence to supervise the compliance of the provisions of the Status settlement to ensure, inter alia, security throughout Kosovo, the protection of minorities, and to support the continued implementation of the standards. The EU Heads of State and Government have just reaffirmed their full support for the agenda set out at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 and for the
Stabilisation and Association Process which will remain the framework for the European course of the Western Balkan countries.
We fully support the Secretary-Generals call to all partners to continue to engage so that the eventual transition following the political settlement will be smooth and orderly. Consequently, the EU has established a planning team in order to ensure a smooth transition between selected tasks of UNMIK and a possible EU crisis management operation in the field of rule of law and other areas that might be identified in the context of the future status process. In close consultation with key international actors, the European Union stands ready to assume its responsibilities and to enhance its role in Kosovo following a status determination in particular in the areas of police, rule of law and the economy, with a view to assisting a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo in its efforts to realize its European perspective.
*Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.