Thank you Mr. President,
We thank Special Representative of the Secretary General Farid Zarif for his briefing this morning.
We thank Foreign Ministers Ivan Mrkic and Enver Hoxhaj for their statements.
We admire the courage, foresight and commitment of the Serb and Kosovo leaders to work of peace in their region.
The situation is complex, historical legacies are rife with mistrust and suspicion, and there is mismatch of expectations. And yet the two sides choose to opt for dialogue, for mediation, and for implementation of the agreements.
We agree that the problems that have plagued the region will not vanish overnight. That is why, we still need diplomacy; and we need continued investment in the efforts aimed at reconciliation.
Progress is being made in the follow up to the Normalization Agreement and Implementation Plan. Both sides have voiced complaints today, but they also demonstrate the commitment to forge ahead against difficult odds. There are strong indications that the current process could pave the way for the two countries to live side by side as peaceful neighbors.
Here we would like to especially appreciate the pivotal mediation role played by the European Union and High Representative Catherine Ashton.
The decisions of the European Council in June to open accession negotiations with Serbia and the Stabilization and Association Agreement negotiations with Kosovo are welcome developments.
The European Union remains an indispensable catalyst for the process of normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
We believe so does the United Nations. We see the role of the United Nations as an enabler, facilitator and impartial arbiter.
The Kosovo Assembly's ratification of the Normalization Agreement and approval of the amnesty law will definitely help promote reconciliation. Amendments to the laws on local self-government, rights of communities and the budget should help the implementation of the Belgrade-Pristina agreements.
In the interest of peace and progress of future generations, the spirit of accommodation must be reciprocated by all sides.
The Kosovo Serb leadership should participate in the Management Team to guide the implementation of the 19th April agreement and creation of the future municipalities.
These efforts should be supplemented by Pristina’s outreach and assurances to the local population. It is important that the local Kosovo Serbs see themselves as stakeholders in the process.
Outreach efforts by leadership of Serbia with northern Kosovo Serbs are important. Leaders on both sides should continue to work together to build support for implementation of the agreement amongst their communities and constituencies.
The Secretary General’s report notes that the overall security situation in Kosovo has remained generally calm and there has been a decline in incidents affecting the minority communities. This is good news and this may well be early evidence of peace dividend for the region.
UNMIK, under the leadership of Special Representative Zarif, continues to play a critical role for stabilization of Kosovo. We particularly appreciate its mediation and facilitation efforts in northern Kosovo.
Recognition of Kosovo as a state is a key question. One hundred UN member states have already done so. Pakistan recognized Kosovo last year.
The most important step towards normalization and reconciliation will be formal inter-state communication between Serbia and Kosovo. This is a difficult step; and we know the sensitivities involved. But this step would ensure full rapprochement.
We wish both Prime Ministers Thaci and Dacic success in the difficult road ahead. We are confident that with commitment and dedication of their leaders and people, the two countries would will be able to move towards harmony and peace.