Security Council Welcomes Progress in Implementing Peace Accord as Members Urge Leaders of Serbia, Kosovo to ‘Stay the Course’

29 August 2013
SC/11107

Security Council Welcomes Progress in Implementing Peace Accord as Members Urge Leaders of Serbia, Kosovo to ‘Stay the Course’

29 August 2013
Security Council
SC/11107
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

7026th Meeting (AM)

Security Council Welcomes Progress in Implementing Peace Accord as Members

 

Urge Leaders of Serbia, Kosovo to ‘Stay the Course’

Special Representative Outlines Developments, Setbacks in Latest Briefing

Security Council members today hailed the progress made in implementing the historic April agreement between Serbia and Kosovo as the senior United Nations official delivered his latest briefing amid calls for leaders on both sides to stay the course.

“It is essential for the parties to keep their focus on the implementation of what has been agreed, without introducing additional fundamental issues, which are, at present, outside the political dialogue,” said Farid Zarif, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

He said that implementing the First Agreement on Principles Governing the Normalization of Relations was a “delicate process” requiring “sustained efforts and focus” to build mutual trust and meet the key aspirations of both sides and those of the region as a whole.

Mr. Zarif said that during his meeting on Tuesday in Brussels with Prime Minister Ivica Dačićof Serbia and Hashim Thaci of Kosovo, the two sides had taken stock of progress in implementing their 19 April Agreement, including preparations for local elections in Kosovo, to be administered on 3 November by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  They had also discussed technical cooperation on telecommunications and energy, but progress in that area had been slow.

Briefing the Council as it considered the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNMIK’s activities and related developments, he emphasized that full participation in the elections must be encouraged, especially in the northern municipalities, where local authority was disputed and many people were apprehensive about the Agreement.  In a bid to aid the political process, UNMIK had deployed experienced facilitation and mediation personnel in the north and had devised confidence-building and reconciliation projects in several key areas throughout Kosovo.

But, Ivan Mrkić, Serbia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, cast doubt on the willingness of the signatories in Pristina to implement fully the accord intended to improve bilateral relations.  “Apparently, the status quo suits the other side much more,” he said.  “That’s why we assume that they want international actors to leave the province.”

He went on to cite instances of Kosovo having breached the Agreement, including the amendment to the Budget Law and protests by ethnic Serbs over attempts by internally displaced Kosovo Albanians to build houses in Brdjani.  In effect, the latter were trying to alter the ethnic structure of that part of northern Mitrovica through land-grabbing and building without permits, he said.  Equally disturbing was the fact that perpetrators of violence against Kosovo Serbs still enjoyed impunity.

He said that, in its quest to terminate UNMIK’s mandate, Pristina had alleged that the Mission undercut recognition of Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence.  For its part, Serbia would never recognize that unilateral declaration, he stressed.  Nor did it view the Agreement as justification for terminating UNMIK, but rather as “a framework for hard work that is still ahead of us”.

Enver Hoxhaj of Kosovo retorted that, despite Pristina’s proactive efforts to implement the original accord in the last three months, there were “clear tendencies” from Belgrade of deviating from it.  Serbia had refused to allow Kosovo citizens to use their local documents in travelling through Serbia, he said, adding that Belgrade had also refused to integrate justice structures.  “In addition, the failure of Belgrade to accept the agreement on energy and telecommunications this week, which was pending in the last two years, is the best testimony of the lack of political will to resolve outstanding inter-State issues,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said, there had been progress in joint border management, the integration of former ethnic Serb police into Kosovo’s law enforcement institutions, the formation of the Serb municipalities association and in finalizing preparations for local elections.  Serious remaining challenges to implementing the 19 April Agreement could only be overcome through political commitment, flexibility and visionary dedication.

The decision by the Council of the European Union to authorize negotiation on a stabilization and association agreement marked a milestone along Kosovo’s path to European Union integration, he said, adding that he expected the accord to be finalized within a year.  He called on the Security Council to consider removing Kosovo from its agenda, transforming UNMIK into a United Nations political office that would coordinate all the Organization’s agencies, funds and programmes, and focusing on helping Kosovo prepare for admission into the world body.

Council members, praising the efforts of both sides to implement the Agreement, urged political leaders in Belgrade to communicate its benefits to their citizens, and their counterparts in Pristina to continue integrating ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo while protecting the rights of minorities.  They commended the relative calm in the area, but expressed worries over continued violence in the north.  They encouraged both sides to work harder to find missing persons.  Some delegates praised Kosovo’s commitment to holding municipal elections.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United States, Morocco, Rwanda, China, Russian Federation, Togo, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, France, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Australia, Guatemala and Argentina.

The meeting began at 10:18 a.m. and ended at 12:45 p.m.

Background

Before the Security Council this morning was this morning was the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document S/2013/444), covering its activities and related developments between 23 April and 15 July 2013.

Briefing

FARID ZARIF, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, said the important progress achieved in implementing the 19 April Agreement between Pristina and Belgrade was fundamental to building mutual trust and meeting the key aspirations of both sides, the population of Kosovo and the region as a whole.  In June, a Kosovo Serb from the north had been appointed Commander of the Northern Regional Police Directorate, and on 20 August, his full leadership team, including a Kosovo Albanian Deputy Commander, had been appointed.

On 11 July, he continued, the Kosovo Assembly had approved a revised version of the draft law on amnesty in order to facilitate the transition of qualified personnel from the northern Kosovo offices of Serbia’s Ministry of Interior police to the Kosovo Police.  However, the opposition had challenged that law in Kosovo’s Constitutional Court.  In early July, the Serbian Interior Ministry had completed the closure of its police offices in the four northern municipalities, he said.

He went on to recall that, on 17 June, Serbia’s High Judicial Council had instructed its three courts operating in Kosovo to stop receiving cases in anticipation of full implementation of the court-related components of the 19 April Agreement.  The functioning of a unified justice system in Kosovo would require substantially more work by the parties, he emphasized, commending each side for its awareness of the delicacy of the subject and for discussing it in a cautious, deliberate way.

During his 27 August meetings in Brussels with Prime Minister Ivica Dačićof Serbia and Hashim Thaci of Kosovo, he said, they had discussed the complex subjects of telecommunications and energy, on which progress had been slow, and agreed to further technical discussions.  The parties had also taken stock of progress in implementing the 19 April Agreement, including preparations for local elections in Kosovo on 3 November.

The registration of political entities for the elections had begun, he continued.  It was crucial that local elections brought to power viable local authorities that could properly represent and defend local community interests, as foreseen in the 19 April Agreement, he stressed.  Full participation in the elections must be encouraged, particularly in the northern municipalities, where local authority was disputed and controversial.

“Implementation of the historic 19 April Agreement and each of its elements is a delicate process that demands sustained efforts and focus,” he emphasized.  “It is essential for the parties to keep their focus on the implementation of what has been agreed, without introducing additional fundamental issues, which are, at present, outside the political dialogue.”  Doing otherwise would put at risk the progress achieved thus far, he pointed out.  Sustained efforts to improve confidence and promote progress in inter-community reconciliation were also vital for the Agreement’s success.  That was a shared responsibility of political leaders at all levels, and required continued global support.

Despite the joint efforts of the Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serb family associations of missing persons to improve collaboration, he said, there had been little recent progress on determining the fate of people missing since the conflict.  The European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) was prepared to conduct new investigations, but greater political will was needed to encourage those with more information to come forward.  Underlining the vital importance of safeguarding religious and cultural sites in Kosovo, he recalled that the local police had taken over responsibility for the protection of Pec Patriarchate from the Kosovo multinational security force (KFOR) in early August.  Such efforts must not falter, he stressed.

He said that an “important and timely” June visit by Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, had underscored a range of areas in which institutions responsible for the rule of law and the protection of human rights in Kosovo could be made more effective.  Her recommendations focused on remedies for weak legislation, more vigorous implementation of laws and tougher responses to hate speech and ethnic intolerance.

Turning to European Union integration, he recalled that, on 28 June, the European Council had decided to start accession negotiations with Serbia, as well as talks with Kosovo on a stabilization and association agreement.  Building confidence in that process within northern Kosovo had been among the greatest challenges, he said, adding that the formation of a “Provisional Assembly for Kosovo and Metohija” there, outside the framework of the 19 April Agreement, was a sign of the area’s continued apprehension regarding the accord’s implementation.

He said UNMIK continued actively to adapt its activities on the ground, including by adding to the number of experienced facilitation and mediation personnel in the northern Kosovo to provide effective support for the political process.  Preparations were currently under way for the implementation of confidence-building and reconciliation projects in several key areas throughout Kosovo, mostly through the United Nations Kosovo team and other global partners.

Statements

IVAN MRKIĆ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, citing the 19 April Agreement of Brussels, said that his Government hoped that the signatories from Pristina would share his country’s enthusiasm for overcoming the problems that the two sides had been faced with for far too long.  Regrettably, that had not always been the case, he said, calling into question the existence of political will in Pristina.

Referring to the role of the United Nations in implementing the Agreement, he stressed the need for guarantees that the other side would not undermine the accords already signed.  “Apparently, the status quo suits the other side much more,” he noted.  “That’s why we assume that they want international actors to leave the province.”  In its quest for the termination of UNMIK’s mandate, Pristina had alleged that it undercut the process of recognizing Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence and invoked the fact that the 19 April Agreement had been signed with Belgrade.

He went on to cite instances of Kosovo having breached the Agreement, including the amendment to the budget law in its Assembly and the situation in Brdjani, where ethnic Serbs reportedly protested over attempts by internally displaced Albanians to build houses in that part of northern Mitrovica.  The truth of the matter was that Kosovo Albanians persisted in their wish to alter the ethnic structure of Brdjani through land-grab and building without permits, he said.

Recalling that it had been 14 years since the Council’s adoption of the decision establishing UNMIK, he said some of the international community’s key aims remained unfulfilled.  According to data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 210,148 Kosovo Serbs remained internally displaced and living in Serbia today.  Tension in Kosovo and Metohija continued to flare and, “despite our efforts, we have not succeeded in reducing it”, as demonstrated by the report’s security data, he said.

He went on to say that the practice of failing to punish the perpetrators of violence against Kosovo Serbs continued, and it was still not known who had killed 14 reapers at Staro Gracko way back in 1999 following the arrival of the various international presences.  It was also unknown who had shot Serbian children as they played in the river at Gorazdevac in 2003.  Despite assurances that UNMIK and EULEX would find the perpetrators, those cases had remained unsolved, he noted.

Equally disturbing was the postponement of the amnesty law, he continued, saying that many more Kosovo Serbs would be arrested pending its implementation.  Serbia called on EULEX, which was competent to establish responsibility for war crimes, to render its contribution to the resolution of that issue by presenting the list of indicted ethnic Serbs without interference in individual court proceedings.  Making the list public was necessary in order to calm tensions in the ethnic Serb community whose members lived in fear of unjust arrests, he said.

Citing attempts to “Kosovize” the cultural and historical heritage of Kosovo Serbs, he said such attempts were being made within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), by renaming the cultural and historical heritage of the ethnic Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija as the “Kosovo” heritage.  That was tantamount to destroying evidence of the centuries-long existence of Serbs in that area, all for the purpose of promoting Kosovo’s so-called independence.  Serbia did not, and nor would it, recognize Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, he emphasized.  The 19 April Agreement “is a good beginning, but it only sets a framework for hard work that is still ahead of us”.

ENVER HOXHAJ of Kosovo said that serious remaining challenges to the 19 April Agreement’s implementation could only be overcome through political commitment, flexibility and visionary dedication.  On 26 June, with more than two thirds of its 84 members voting in favour, the Assembly of Kosovo had ratified the Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.  On 11 July, the Assembly had approved an amnesty law facilitating the integration of former employees of ethnic Serb parallel structures into Kosovo’s institutional system, he said.  The law, which had drawn some reaction from a faction of the opposition, was under review by the Constitutional Court, he said, expressing hope that it would be confirmed.  A team comprising representatives from the four northern municipalities would prepare a statute establishing the Association of Serb Municipalities.

Citing concrete steps to integrate former ethnic Serb police into Kosovo’s law enforcement institutions, he said the Kosovo Police had established a regional police department for the northern municipalities and appointed a regional police director.  The next local elections, slated for 3 November, represented an opportunity to build a joint commitment and new civic obligations towards a multi-ethnic Kosovo, he said, adding that local institutions were working to create a comprehensive list of voters in the northern municipalities, including those currently living outside Kosovo.

He said there had been some progress in implementing agreements reached thus far, but there were also some “clear tendencies” from Belgrade of deviating from the original obligations of the Agreement.  While the closure of the 11 ethnic Serb police offices in the northern municipalities was welcome, he pointed out that members of the ethnic Serb security structures continued to operate from private settings with the aim of destabilizing that part of Kosovo.  Additionally, there had been no progress in implementing the Agreement’s justice-related provisions due to a lack of political will in Belgrade, he added.

The European Council’s 28 June decision to authorize the European Commission to negotiate a stabilization and association agreement with Kosovo marked a milestone along the path to European Union integration, he said.  The accord would create a legal framework offering stability and security for foreign direct investment, economic growth and job creation, he said, adding that he expected it to be finalized in early 2014.  In the past three months, Kosovo had also strengthened its global position and increased its interaction with multilateral organizations, he said.  In June, Egypt, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Guyana and El Salvador had recognized its independence, joining more than 100 Member States that had done the same.  Kosovo had diplomatic relations with almost 60 States, and had recently become a member of the Council of Europe Development Bank.

A special multi-ethnic task force had been created within the Kosovo Police to protect cultural and religious heritage sites, he said, adding that it would soon take responsibility for security of the Peja Patriarchate.  Kosovo continued to provide institutional, financial and political support for the return and reintegration of displaced communities, and 258 persons had returned voluntarily since March.  The June visit to Kosovo by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reaffirmed its commitment to protecting and observing global human rights standards, he said, emphasizing that further genuine cooperation and commitment was needed from Belgrade to determine the fate of missing persons.

“It is now time for the Council to consider removing Kosovo from its agenda,” he declared.  “The time has come to pass a new resolution which recognizes the progress made on the ground that we have been reporting on a regular basis for many years now.”  UNMIK had played an active role in stabilizing Kosovo between 1999 and 2007, but it was important to acknowledge that it no longer had a role to play, he said, calling upon the Council to transform the Mission into a political office that would coordinate all United Nations agencies, funds and programmes in Kosovo.  “We call upon the Security Council to take concrete, timely and definitive action that would enable Kosovo to take its rightful place in the family of free and democratic nations.”

SAMANTHA POWER (United States), applauding European Union efforts to bring about positive relations between Serbia and Kosovo, welcomed the 19 April Agreement, as well as the bloc’s decisions to initiate membership talks with Serbia by January 2014, and negotiations on a stabilization and association agreement with Kosovo.  She also commended both sides for establishing liaison offices to monitor progress.  It was vital to finalize energy and telecommunications agreements and to implement all past accords, she added.

Turning to the upcoming municipal elections in northern Kosovo, she urged the area’s ethnic Serbs to make their voices heard by participating in the polls.  It was also crucial for Kosovo to preserve Serb cultural and historical heritage so as to promote reconciliation, she said, urging both sides to make further efforts to locate missing persons, while calling for more attention to returnees.  Finally, she encouraged both sides to seize opportunities by drawing on the momentum created in the past few months.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) welcomed the positive trend in relations between Serbia and Kosovo over the past several months, including the signing of the 19 April Agreement.  He commended both sides for having met at a high level to accelerate implementation of the accord.  Morocco remained optimistic about integrating the Balkan nations into the European Union.  Turning to the tensions in multiethnic areas, he stressed the importance of upholding the rule of law and respecting human rights.  Cooperation and coordination among all actors was the key to implementation of the 19 April Agreement, he said, calling upon the European Union and the United Nations, in particular, to play their valuable roles in normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo.

LAWRENCE MANZI ( Rwanda) called upon Serbia and Kosovo to continue engaging in substantial talks on matters of mutual interest, including the transformation of existing structures in northern Kosovo.  The international community must show unconditional support to sustain the momentum, he emphasized, pointing out that the biggest challenge ahead was overcoming the scepticism in northern Kosovo regarding implementation of the Agreement.  To facilitate that process, the international community should continue to focus on the security situation in the north, he said, commending UNMIK’s monitoring and facilitating activities.  The Mission should continue to adapt to the evolving situation and play a role in ensuring coordination of all efforts.  It should actively help to build reconciliation among communities, he said, noting that dialogue had led to marked progress.  Only dialogue, not violence, could resolve outstanding issues.

LIU JIEYI ( China), underscoring the importance of State sovereignty, said he understood Serbia’s legitimate concerns over Kosovo.  All parties should strive to seek a mutual settlement through dialogue, he said, encouraging both parties to maintain pragmatic, constructive dialogue towards a lasting settlement, as well as peace and security in the Balkans as a whole.  China noted with concern the tensions in northern Kosovo, and urged all the parties concerned to protect the legitimate rights of all ethnic groups in Kosovo while taking a cautious approach to in problems through dialogue.  China commended UNMIK’s activities and hoped that the Mission, as well as EULEX and KFOR, could contribute positively to resolving the situation in Kosovo.

PETR V. ILIICHEV ( Russian Federation) said that stabilization remained far off in Kosovo and attention should not be reduced just because an agreement had been reached on 19 April.  One of the major milestones of the accord’s implementation would be the holding of municipal elections on 3 November.  They should achieve the widest possible participation, including by internally displaced persons and refugees.  Both UNMIK and the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were mandated to monitor the elections, he noted.  He called for radical improvements in handling the numerous cases of theft involving properties belonging to Kosovo’s ethnic Serbs.  UNMIK needed human resources to carry out its mandate, including the protection of human rights and holy sites, he said.  He concluded by underlining the importance of Council resolution 1244 (1999) and urged all actors to abide by that text.

KODJO MENAN ( Togo) hailed the 19 April Agreement, saying that both sides had made major concessions that were not necessarily ideal to all sectors, but which would be beneficial nevertheless.  Emphasizing the importance of progressively resolving differences, he welcomed the establishment of liaison offices to monitor the accord’s implementation.  He expressed concern over the security situation in northern Kosovo, saying that reconciliation would take time and require a holistic approach, including through education and the promotion of peaceful co-existence.  The international community would continue to provide support to ensure that the gains attained were not reversed.

MICHAEL TATHAM ( United Kingdom) welcomed the European Council’s decision to open negotiations on a stabilization and association agreement with Kosovo, the first milestone on its path to eventual European Union membership.  He also welcomed the bloc’s decision to open accession negotiations with Serbia and encouraged countries that had not yet recognized Kosovo to do so.  European Union accession talks must begin in the autumn, he added.  The United Nations must work to ensure that the areas identified for reform in the 2012 feasibility study were addressed.

Welcoming the steps set forth by the Special Representative, he went on to call upon both sides to reach early agreement on telecommunications and energy.  They must both sustain progress and work to overcome obstacles to implementation.  Belgrade must continue to communicate the benefits of the Agreement to the people in northern Kosovo, he said, urging authorities on both sides to cooperate fully with EULEX.  He also welcomed Kosovo’s commitment to holding municipal elections on 3 November, saying that Kosovo-wide elections would be a significant step towards integrating all minority communities.

OLIVIER MAES ( Luxembourg) welcomed the European Council’s 28 June decision, and noted the great progress made within the framework of the European Union-brokered dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.  He commended the commitment by both sides to facilitating the November elections, saying OSCE would have a key role to play in that regard.  The European Union was looking favourably at the Kosovo leader’s invitation to deploy an electoral mission to monitor the polls, he added.  The rule of law required the dismantling of parallel structures throughout Kosovo, he said, adding that recognition by more than half of the Organization’s Member States attested to Kosovo’s positive evolution.  In the wake of the 19 April Agreement, the global community’s medium-term presence must be adapted to the new realities, as the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had done.

TOFIG MUSAYEV ( Azerbaijan) said his delegation’s position on Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its non-recognition of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence remained unchanged.  Azerbaijan took note of positive developments during the reporting period, including a further agreement on 22 May on the implementation of the 19 April accord.  He commended both sides, urging them to find mutually acceptable solutions while stressing the importance of UNMIK’s presence on the basis of resolution 1244 (1999).  Addressing unsolved legacies, such as the issues of missing persons and perpetrators of crimes, should remain a priority in the interest of reconciliation, he said.

ALEXIS LAMEK ( France) said “substantial progress” had been made since the “historic agreement” of 19 April, demonstrating the willingness of both Serbia and Kosovo to move towards normal relations.  France noted with satisfaction the measures taken to ensure substantial autonomy for northern Kosovo’s ethnic Serb-majority municipalities.  He called on both sides to work for the success of municipal elections on 3 November by promoting the widest possible participation of the Kosovo Serb community.  He also called for agreement on issues of energy and telecommunications.  The first intergovernmental conference to be held by January 2014 would eventually allow Serbia to achieve its “European destiny”, he said.  France was committed to building a multiethnic Kosovo, and “today, we are a bit closer to this objective”.

MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) commended the foresight and courage of leaders on both sides in working towards peace and stability in the region.  However, the problems that had plagued the region would not vanish overnight, he cautioned, emphasizing the continuing need for diplomacy and reconciliation efforts.  There were strong indications that the current process could pave the way for both Serbia and Kosovo to live side by side in peace, he said, welcoming the decisions by the European Council to open accession talks with Serbia and negotiations on a stabilization and association agreement with Kosovo.  The overall security situation in Kosovo remained calm, which was possible early evidence of a peace dividend for the region, and UNMIK continued to play a critical role in stabilizing Kosovo, he said.  Recognition of Kosovo as a State was a key question, and Pakistan had recognized it last year, he added.

SUL KYUNG-HOON (Republic of Korea) welcomed the progress made in implementing the 19 April Agreement, and commended the constructive role of the European Union in that process.  Initial progress in implementing the Agreement had built confidence and helped to build mutual trust, he said, urging both sides to seize the opportunity created by that momentum to advance implementation.  Municipal elections in northern Kosovo would be a crucial benchmark.  For the ongoing peace process to be sustainable, education and tolerance were vital.  The process could only be successful if all minorities and ethnic groups were involved, he said, stressing that it was vital to address and eliminate the scepticism towards the Agreement among ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo.  He called on both sides to continue to ensure that the Serbs could recognize the common interest of the Agreement and reap its benefits.  He also called for greater efforts to address the fate of missing persons and victims of sexual violence, to heal the scars of war and to protect human rights in the region.

LARA NASSAU ( Australia) expressed support Kosovo’s ongoing transition towards long-term stability and stressed the Council’s role in that regard.  It was vital for both sides to implement all 15 points contained in the 19 April Agreement.  She welcomed the establishment of liaison offices, the strengthening of policing operations and the preparations under way for the 3 November elections.  Confidence-building measures were necessary to finalize telecommunications and energy agreements, she said.  She stressed the importance of safe and viable returns for displaced persons, ensuring the rule of law, respecting human rights, upholding the independence of the judiciary and inclusive education, among other things.

GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) described the 19 April Agreement as “a critical point reached”, emphasizing, however, that the accord must be followed closely.  Turning to the security situation, he noted that the use of explosive devices and violence against minorities had decreased.  Despite the progress made, however, tension flared persistently over the construction of houses in some parts of northern Kosovo.  He said lack of funding was a major obstacle to the voluntary returns of displaced persons.  According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 36 displaced persons had returned to Kosovo during April and May compared to 159 during the corresponding period in 2012.  Guatemala supported UNMIK, which should continue to strengthen its presence in the north, he said, stressing that resolution 1244 (1999) was the legal framework for the situation in Kosovo.

Council President MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL ( Argentina), speaking in her national capacity, said her country had voted in favour of Council resolution 1244 (1999), which remained the legal basis for a political solution.  Argentina trusted that the accord would help stabilize the situation through compromise, confidence and dialogue.  Serbia’s efforts towards normalization deserved special recognition, she said, while expressing concern over the situation in north Mitrovica.  It called for coordinated action to prevent future tension.  She called for UNMIK to continue to play an indispensable role in the field.  Hailing the progress made in the reconstruction and protection of cultural and religious heritage sites, she called for the return of displaced persons, as well as ensuring their access to housing and jobs.  She also stressed the need to determine the fate of those still missing, stressing that impunity for human rights violations could not be allowed to prevail.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.