Statement by Ambassador Wittig on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo
I would like to join colleagues in welcoming the Foreign Minister Jeremic of Serbia, new Foreign Minister Hoxhaj of Kosovo and Special Representative Zannier to the Council. I would like to thank Mr Zannier for his comprehensive briefing. We appreciate the contribution made by UNMIK and commend the dedication and service of its staff.
The reporting period has been marked by significant political events. The new Parliament has held its constitutive session on 21 February. Kosovo went through a difficult political period, after the Constitutional Court ruling on the procedure for the election of the President. Germany notes with satisfaction that these difficulties have been successfully overcome by democratic means, based on a dialogue between the ruling coalition and opposition parties.
There is now an opportunity to shift the attention to the the important challenges that Kosovo is facing.
Let me comment on three aspects contained in the report of Special Representative:
First, Germany welcomes the launch of the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade which aims at promoting cooperation, achieving progress on the path to the European Union and improving the lives of people in the region through practical arrangements. As facilitator of this dialogue, the European Union has hosted the first three meetings in Brussels. The meetings have been conducted in a positive and constructive atmosphere. They have shown that there is a potential to reach agreement between Pristina and Belgrade on much-needed arrangements in a number of areas, among them civil registry and cadastral data, telecommunication and electricity. This potential must be fully realized for the benefit of the people in the region. We call on both sides to continue the dialogue in good faith and produce tangible results as soon as possible.
Secondly, with regard to the security situation in Kosovo, Germany is pleased to note that the overall situation remained relatively calm during the reporting period. This also holds true for the situation in the North of Kosovo, from which only one incident in the past three months was reported. This is encouraging. Nevertheless, challenges remain, and we share the assessment by the Secretary-General that solutions to practical issues found through dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade will help to alleviate the still existing underlying tensions in the northern part of Kosovo. We echo the call made by the Secretary-General on communities in the North to avoid taking any unilateral actions that could undermine the situation on the ground and enhance those tensions.
My third point concerns the report of the Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Dick Marty, on alleged “inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo”. Let me stress that Germany continues to take this report very seriously. Full investigation of the allegations of despicable crimes committed against Serbian nationals during and after the end of the armed conflict in Kosovo contained in the report is necessary. We have already stated before that in our view, there is no doubt that the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo – “EULEX” – has the capacities, the competence and the jurisdiction to carry out these investigations. EULEX has an independent, fully functional witness security unit which is capable of being upscaled if necessary. EULEX has Germany’s full support and confidence.
As stated in the annex to the quarterly report of the Secretary-General, EULEX has opened a preliminary investigation and EULEX prosecutors have met with Mr. Marty to discuss his findings. The Government of Kosovo is ready for full cooperation. EULEX has established good cooperation with the authorities in Belgrade and Tirana. EULEX prosecutors have already met twice with the general prosecutor of Albania on the matter.
Let me conclude by underlining that Germany will also continue to promote Serbia’s and Kosovo’s joint and shared European future.