Statement by Ambassador Wittig on Kosovo in the Security Council
I would like to join my colleagues in warmly welcoming the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Vuc Jeremić, and the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, Ms. Vlora Çitaku, and would like to thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Mr. Lamberto Zannier for the briefing.
We appreciate the contribution made by UNMIK and commend the dedication and service of its staff.
Tomorrow, Kosovo will celebrate the third anniversary of its independence. We congratulate the people of Kosovo and its leadership for the progress that has been achieved in the last three years. We will continue our support for a free, multiethnic, democratic and dynamic Kosovo whose future lies in Europe.
We welcome the most recent recognitions of Kosovo as an independent State, bringing the total number of recognitions to 75. Germany sees these recognitions as a clear sign that the region has gained stability since Kosovo's independence. We call upon States that have not yet done so to recognize the Republic of Kosovo as a contribution to peace and stability in the Western Balkans.
Our common goal in the region is very clear: we want peace and stability, freedom, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. The prospect of EU membership has facilitated peace and reconciliation. One day all countries in the region, also Serbia and Kosovo, should find their place under a common European roof.
Germany commends and fully supports the efforts by High Representative Ashton and her representatives to facilitate a process of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, as supported in the UN General Assembly Resolution of September last year. We welcome that both parties are ready for this dialogue and we hope it will, after some delays, now start quickly and in a constructive spirit.
We follow the Secretary-General in welcoming that the recent parliamentary elections in Kosovo took place in a peaceful atmosphere. We see the increased overall turn-out and the good participation by Kosovo Serbs and by other communities, as a positive signal of the wish of all Kosovo’s citizens to jointly participate in building a sustainable, multi-ethnic future. We regret that a number of irregularities have marred the voting and counting processes. However, we welcome that the competent institutions in Kosovo addressed these irregularities in an efficient and responsible manner in line with the existing legal framework in Kosovo. All unlawful acts related to the elections have to be investigated and prosecuted in order to further strengthen the credibility and legitimacy of the democratic process in Kosovo.
We hope for the speedy formation of a new government and election of the new President of the Republic. The new government will face a number of important challenges such as addressing the pressing need for socio-economic development, the strengthening of the rule of law on the whole of the territory of Kosovo and the fight against corruption and organized crime. The full integration of representatives of the ethnic communities in the institutions and society, especially the Kosovo Serbs, and the protection of their religious and cultural sites, will also have to be adressed.
As the report of the Secretary-General underlines, many challenges remain also in northern Kosovo. Although the overall security situation in Kosovo remained relatively calm, it continues to be potentially volatile in the north.
We welcome the continued close cooperation between UNMIK and EULEX, the OSCE and KFOR. We fully support the important work of EULEX and welcome that EULEX has extended its presence and activities in the north of Kosovo in order to guarantee the implementation of its mandate in the whole territory of Kosovo.
The grave allegations of crimes committed against Serbian nationals during and after the end of the armed conflict in Kosovo as described by the Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Dick Marty, are shocking. Germany takes them seriously. These allegations must be investigated fully and impartially. We call on all relevant organizations, institutions and individuals to come forward and present any evidence they have to allow for full investigation. We welcome that the Government of Kosovo and also the Government of Albania are ready for full cooperation to fully and impartially investigate the allegations made by the Special Rapporteur.
EULEX has the necessary capacities, the competence and above all also the jurisdiction to carry out these investigations. EULEX has our full support and confidence. From our point of view, setting-up an ad-hoc body or tribunal by the UNSC would not serve our joint objective of speedy and full investigation.
In conclusion, let me reiterate that my country remains committed to a strong partnership between the United Nations, the EU and the relevant actors in the region, a partnership that builds on shared values and common goals.
Thank you very much.