Thank you Mr. President,
We would like to welcome His Excellency Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister of Serbia to the Security Council.
We would also like to thank Mr. Hashim Thaci for his statement.
We are grateful to Special Representative of the Secretary General and the Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Mr. Farid Zarif for his briefing.
UNMIK continues to play a vital role in ensuring stability in Kosovo. We commend the SRSG and his team for their contribution to the security and stability of Kosovo. All constituents of the international presence in Kosovo must maintain neutrality while executing their respective mandates.
Although the overall situation in Kosovo has remained stable during the last three months, the security situation in the northern part continues to be fragile. We are particularly concerned over recurrence of violence in northern Kosovo.Such incidents can undermine the security and stability of the territory and have a regressive effect on the political process. The incidents also point to the need to address deficiencies in the training and discipline of the Kosovo Police.
We look forward to the resumption of the EU-facilitated dialogue, without any preconditions, following the formation of a new government in Serbia.
In order for the process to be productive, it is important to implement the agreements that have been reached earlier.
We take note of the progress made for the certification of university diplomas.
We would, however, urge both sides to resolve the issues pertaining to the agreements on regional cooperation and freedom of movement as well as the agreement on the Integrated Management of Crossing Points.
The authorities in Kosovo need to move forward towards enacting the necessary legislation on cadastre records.
Implementation of agreements, however, would need demonstration of political will and flexibility by the two sides.
The decline in the number of voluntary returns during the current reporting period is a matter of concern. The report of the Secretary-General highlights some incidents of minorities being targeted. Such incidents - which exacerbate perception of insecurity and deter voluntary returns - should be investigated properly and the perpetrators brought to justice.
Acts of vandalism against sites of cultural and religious heritage are unacceptable and need to be addressed effectively.
Finally, we call upon all parties to pursue the path of dialogue, engagement and mutual accommodation for the sake of lasting peace in Kosovo and the region.
I thank you.