Remarks by Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Debate on Kosovo and UNMIK, May 12, 2011

Rosemary A. DiCarlo
Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
New York, NY
May 12, 2011




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to welcome Foreign Minister Jeremic back to the Council and I would like to welcome Foreign Minister Hoxhaj to the Council today and to congratulate him on assuming his new position. I would also like to thank Special Representative Zannier for his briefing and for his service on behalf of the international community.

Mr. President, I would like to begin by congratulating the people of Kosovo on the election of President Jahjaga - the first woman to hold Kosovo's presidency and the first female head of state in the Balkan region. Her election is historic and heartening.

Mr. President, I will focus on three key points today.

First, Kosovo has once again demonstrated the resilience of its young, multiethnic democratic institutions, even in the face of political challenges.

The new Kosovo government was constituted shortly after our last Security Council meeting on the subject. It has the most robust, top-level, multiethnic representation this young country has ever known. We are hopeful that this new government will refocus Kosovo’s energies on political and economic reforms to improve citizens’ lives and further integrate Kosovo into the international community. We also welcome the agreement between the governing coalition and leading opposition parties, which followed the March 30 constitutional court ruling, and led to a peaceful transition of power from President Pacolli to President Jahjaga. We look forward to working with her and the new government as they complete the important electoral reforms that were central to that agreement.

Second, Kosovo’s institutions deserve the strong support of this Council and all parties present today as they work to extend the rule of law throughout Kosovo, including the north.

The EU’s Rule of Law Mission, EULEX, plays an important role assisting Kosovo institutions develop a professional police force and judiciary, in line with EU standards.

NATO’s KFOR and EULEX continue to work with Kosovo border police to prepare Kosovo for full control of its southern border, and the Kosovo border police have assumed responsibility for additional controls along the Macedonia border. In recognition of the Kosovo Police’s professional standards, KFOR has continued to transfer responsibility for protecting Serbian Orthodox Church sites to them without incident

Mr. President, the overall security situation in Kosovo has been relatively calm, and we are encouraged by reports of increased engagement with Kosovo institutions by minority communities, including Kosovo Serbs. But we remain deeply concerned by the actions of the so-called parallel structures in northern Kosovo, which answer to the Government of Serbia. These parallel structures obstruct progress and freeze the unacceptable conditions in the north.

The international community, along with the Government of Kosovo, must ensure that Kosovo has a country-wide police and judicial system that serves and protects all communities and defends their members’ rights to lead safe, secure, and productive lives. We still witness threats of violence and acts of intimidation directed at ordinary citizens and at Kosovo government and international authorities. We have also witnessed the obstruction of the census in northern Kosovo and repeated efforts to block international assistance projects. All of these actions come at the expense of the people in the north, and none of these actions should be tolerated.

Third, we welcome EULEX’s decision to investigate the serious allegations in the report by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. EULEX has the jurisdiction and mandate to investigate and prosecute the types of criminal activity alleged by the report. We welcome Kosovo and Albania pledges to cooperate fully with the EULEX investigation.

The United States, as a EULEX-participating state, supports the mission’s activities, and we are evaluating how we can best support the investigation.

EULEX has already begun a follow-on investigation to those conducted earlier by UNMIK and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

As others have said, nothing in relation to the report's allegations would prevent EULEX from undertaking this task. Kosovo law and the EU Joint Action on EULEX explicitly provide for EULEX to investigate and prosecute serious crimes, and to do so independently.

Some assert that all investigations into war crimes in the ex-Yugoslav realm have taken place under Security Council auspices. That is incorrect. Many cases have been and still are being handled in domestic courts in the region, in Bosnia, in Croatia, and in Serbia.

Mr. President, in closing, I hope we will all take heart from the great promise shown by this young country in its three years of independence. We have been particularly struck by the dynamic, engaged youth who will forge so much of Kosovo's future—young men and women of all backgrounds, who are working to deepen civil society, build up democratic institutions, expand economic opportunity, and promote the rule of law.

The United States remains committed to a stable, prosperous, multiethnic, and democratic Kosovo that is at peace with its neighbors. We continue to fully support the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and we hope it will lead to practical solutions to the continuing challenges of daily life for the people of Kosovo. Seventy-five countries have now recognized Kosovo.

We call on all remaining countries to contribute to stability in the region by welcoming Kosovo into the international community through formal recognition. Thank you, Mr. President.

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PRN: 2011/098