Reconciliation Processes in Kosovo Must Ultimately Reinforce Each Other, Top United Nations Official Tells Security Council

16 November 2016
7811th Meeting (PM)

Reconciliation Processes in Kosovo Must Ultimately Reinforce Each Other, Top United Nations Official Tells Security Council

Serbia’s Foreign Minister, Kosovo Speaker Cite Causes of Tension while Affirming Readiness to Continue Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue

Reporting that the consolidation of stability continued to progress in Kosovo but was threatened by tensions at both the community and higher political levels, the senior United Nations official there told the Security Council today that all reconciliation processes must ultimately reinforce each other.

“I hope what awaits Kosovo in 2017 is political dialogue accompanied by necessary progress at the community level,” said Zahir Tanin, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).  Presenting the Secretary-General’s latest three-month report on the Mission (document S/2016/901), he said it welcomed Kosovo’s overall economic and political progress despite the challenges.

Among the causes of tension were a draft law intended to ratify an agreement with Montenegro on territorial delineation, and the adoption of a law on a local mining and industrial complex, he said.  With the latter issue creating additional public tension between Pristina and Belgrade, implementation of the agreements reached within the framework of the European Union-facilitated dialogue between the two sides continued only at a slow pace, according to the report.  Indeed, the agreed establishment of the Association/Community of Serb Municipalities in northern Kosovo had made little progress, Mr. Tanin said.

Despite polarization at higher political levels, recent surveys indicated little ethnic division in priorities at the community level, he said, noting that unemployment, corruption and lack of economic development were the biggest concerns.  Yet, reconciliation efforts by municipalities remained mixed, he said, citing examples of both progressive and regressive actions.  The European perspective remained a force for stabilization throughout the Balkan region and progress had been made in consolidating the rule of law, with officials tackling corruption and the Kosovo Specialist Chambers nearing full functionality, he emphasized.

Following that briefing, Serbia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs affirmed that his country had demonstrated its commitment to resolving outstanding issues through dialogue within a status-neutral framework, while reiterating, however, that Serbia would never recognize Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.  Meanwhile, Pristina had taken unilateral measures that must be renegotiated, such as the confiscation of the Trepca mining and industrial complex and the seizure of other properties.  In addition, the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb Municipalities had become the subject of political blackmail.

Citing the absence of security for Kosovo Serbs, he called for the creation of conditions for the return of displaced persons and other measures.  He also expressed regret that the Kosovo parliament had adopted a resolution on the values of the Kosovo Liberation Army.  However, he pledged in the interest of regional stability that Belgrade would continue the dialogue with Pristina, but warned that the dialogue must not be abused as a platform for ramming Kosovo’s independence through.

Vlora Çitaku of Kosovo also affirmed commitment to dialogue with Serbia, but expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of agreements already reached between Pristina and Belgrade.  Stressing that the “clock of history” could not be turned back, she also objected to the “parallel universe” presented by Serbian speakers in portraying Kosovo’s statehood as non-existent when addressing the Council.

She said that by establishing a Special Court, Kosovo had taken unprecedented measures to address alleged crimes of the 1990s and did not fear justice because it had nothing to hide.  In contrast, the Government of Serbia had been unwilling to prosecute war crimes, although thousands had been raped, killed or had gone missing, she noted.

Following those statements, various Council members urged accelerated implementation of agreements reached through the European-sponsored dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, while others called for resolution of issues relating to missing persons and the return home of the displaced.

Some delegates criticized actions of the Kosovo Assembly that might sow further division, calling for reconciliation and dialogue at all levels, including between opposition and ruling parties.  While most speakers welcomed the progress made in consolidating the rule of law, some highlighted the need for further progress, particularly in rooting out corruption and ensuring justice for serious crimes of the past.

Other speakers, including the representatives of France and New Zealand, called for a reconsideration of UNMIK’s mandate and a rethinking of the frequency of Council meetings on Kosovo.  The United Kingdom’s representative emphasized the need to increase dialogue on Kosovo in the Balkans and decrease it in the Council.  Agreeing, the representatives of Japan and the United States suggested that precious peacekeeping resources could be better spent elsewhere.

On the other hand, the Russian Federation’s representative emphasized the need to maintain UNMIK’s staffing, as well as quarterly reporting on the Mission.  Resolution 1244 (1999) remained the framework for resolving the situation of Kosovo, he said, stressing that no one had the right to revoke Security Council resolutions.

Also speaking today were representatives of Angola, Uruguay, Egypt, Spain, Venezuela, Malaysia, China, Ukraine and Senegal.

Taking the floor a second time were Serbia’s Foreign Minister and Ms. Çitaku of Kosovo.

The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 6:27 p.m.


ZAHIR TANIN, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), said there had been some consolidation of the political situation and some new positive regional developments during the reporting period.  However, there had also been some new reasons for concern, he added, noting that although the political violence of earlier months had subsided, the divergent positions of the ruling and opposition parties remained entrenched and highly polarized.  Despite that challenge, some leaders were forging ahead with a far-sighted view of reconciliation he said, highlighting President Hashim Thaçi’s engagement with ethnic Serb and Albanian communities in that regard.  By contrast, the accelerated passage through parliamentary procedures of a new law on the Trepča industrial complex had emerged as another obstacle to constructive dialogue.  It had been accompanied by strong protests by the Serb community and Belgrade, to the extent that Kosovo Serb representatives and officials had suspended their participation in governing institutions.  The international member of the Special Chamber of the Kosovo Supreme Court had requested that the Constitutional Court review the law on the basis of concern that it appeared to contravene fundamental property rights, he said.

Despite polarization at higher-level politics, however, recent surveys indicated that there was little ethnic division in priorities at the community level, he continued, noting that unemployment, corruption and lack of economic development were the biggest concerns.  All ethnic groups placed greater emphasis on dialogue among community leaders as the method for advancing reconciliation than on political-level dialogue, he said, adding that, at the same time, the European perspective remained a force for stabilization throughout the Balkans.  Meanwhile, there had been few visible signs of progress towards implementation of the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities.  Emphasizing that political and societal reconciliation processes must ultimately reinforce each other, he declared: “I hope what awaits Kosovo in 2017 is political dialogue accompanied by necessary progress at the community level.”  The roles of the European Union and the United Nations continued to converge in that regard.

He went on to stress the excellent pro-reconciliation activities carried out at the community level, citing inter-community efforts to preserve cemeteries.  However, regressive attitudes still persisted, such as opposition to Kosovo Serbs returning home, expressed in October by one Municipal Assembly member.  On the other hand, efforts to advance impartial rule of law were progressing, and there was clear determination to pursue high-profile corruption cases, including by investigating organized crime involving a few members of Kosovo’s political class.  In such cases, a clear distinction must be made between individual and institutional responsibility, he stressed.  Preparations for the full functioning of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers were also well advanced, he added, while calling for a thorough and transparent investigation of the death in custody of the Vetevendosje activist Astrit Dehari.  He welcomed the vigilance of Kosovo’s security bodies, as demonstrated by the arrest of individuals suspected of having been recruited by extremist militants.  Noting that UNMIK was adapting itself to working more effectively with Kosovo institutions, he said the relationship between them continued to improve.  For further progress on reconciliation, the real concerns of Kosovo’s different ethnic and geographic communities must be addressed, he added.


IVICA DAČIĆ, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, said that, numerous challenges notwithstanding, his country had demonstrated its commitment to resolving outstanding issues through dialogue within a status-neutral framework.  The agreement on telecommunications had been reached due to Serbia’s efforts, but the other side had not reciprocated, resorting instead to unilateral moves such as the confiscation of the Trepča Mining, Metallurgy and Chemical Combine.  Pristina had unilaterally privatized about 70 per cent of State and socially-owned property in Kosovo, and had also seized private property belonging to ethnic Serbs and to the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Noting that the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities had been created as a mechanism for institutional protection of the Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija, he said it was of paramount importance for the survival of Serbian people there.  Unfortunately, the Community’s creation had become the subject of political blackmail, he said, emphasizing that the process by which it had been established must not be allowed to drag on and be used as a pretext to undertake unilateral acts that sent threatening messages of disenfranchisement to ethnic Serbs in Kosovo.  The theft of Serbian property in Kosovo and Metohija, such as the failed attempt to seize the tourist complex on Mt. Brezovica, could not be legalized by any law, he stressed, adding that unilateral acts did not benefit anybody.

The situation in Kosovo and Metohija continued to be characterized by the absence of physical and legal security for Serbs, especially for internally displaced persons who had returned or wished to return home, he said.  They were repeatedly attacked with firearms and explosive devices, while the desecration of Orthodox graveyards was on the rise.  Religious extremism, compounded by terrorism and the activities of extremists returning from various battlefields had increased dramatically.  Since there were no conditions for sustainable return, however, the number of returnees remained lamentably low, he said, emphasizing that it was incumbent upon all to create conditions in which internally displaced persons would have a real choice between returning and local integration.

Describing the Kosovo parliament’s recent adoption of a resolution on protecting the Kosovo Liberation Army’s values as the best evidence of the immaturity of those professing to be leaders of the Albanian people, he said that action had been predicated on the assumption that crime was a positive social value, illustrating what that parliament thought of the Specialist Chambers established to verify and sanction the Kosovo Liberation Army’s crimes.  In the interest of regional stability, however, Serbia would continue the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with a view to addressing the everyday vital problems of people living in Kosovo and Metohija and to normalizing relations, rather than abusing the dialogue as a platform from which to ram Kosovo’s independence through.  Pointing out that the international community’s role was to promote compromise rather than assisting one side, he underlined that Serbia would never recognize Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, although it would continue the policy of peaceful resolution of that question, on the basis of a responsible approach and full implementation of the agreements reached in the Brussels dialogue.

VLORA ÇITAKU of Kosovo said the clock of history could not be turned back, yet every three months before the Council, her colleagues from Serbia discussed a parallel universe in which Kosovo’s statehood was non-existent.  While Kosovo remained committed to justice for all victims, regardless of ethnicity, its northern neighbour had not demonstrated the same level of commitment.  By establishing a Special Court, Kosovo had taken unprecedented measures to address alleged crimes, and did not fear justice because it had nothing to hide.  By contrast, the Government of Serbia had been unwilling to prosecute war crimes, she recalled, pointing out that although 20,000 women had been raped, 1,262 children brutally killed, and thousands had gone missing during the war, no one had been indicted.  Serbian Government involvement had been very clearly traced and documented, she said, emphasizing that there could be no reconciliation without accountability and justice.  Kosovo reaffirmed its commitment to dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, but was not satisfied with implementation of the agreements already reached.

She went on to state that Kosovo’s scepticism was exacerbated further by Serbia’s violation of the freedom of movement agreement.  For example, two citizens of Kosovo had recently been unnecessarily detained under arrest warrants issued by the Serbian authorities, she said, noting that such actions were not only unlawful, but demonstrated the aggression of the Serbian Government and undermined efforts to normalize the situation in the region.  In fact, Serbia had a track record of issuing arrest warrants, including for Western leaders such as former President Bill Clinton of the United States and former Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, among others, she recalled.  The process of normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia had not ended in Brussels where agreements had been signed, she emphasized, noting that such accords would only be meaningful if implemented by both sides.

Addressing the preliminary observations of the Special Rapporteur, she described the claim that 200,000 Serbs had been displaced from Kosovo after the war as “factually incorrect”.  The number of Serbs living in Kosovo in 1991 had stood at 194,000 and the current number was unknown, due in part to a campaign launched by the Serbian Government to discourage participation in the 2011 census, she said.  Moreover, Kosovo Serbs who were also citizens of Serbia had a constitutional right to vote in Serbian parliamentary elections, and 106,094 voters had been eligible, according to data from the 2016 elections.  Since those numbers do not add up, Serbia’s Election Commission had either inflated the number of Serb voters in Kosovo or the number of Serbian people displaced, she said, adding that a more accurate picture would emerge following the next census.  Overall, Kosovo was resolute in its aim of creating better living conditions for all Serbs living in Kosovo, she said, emphasizing that every citizen of Kosovo had the right to return.  To that end, Kosovo had spent tens of millions of euros on building homes and supporting their return.  While Kosovo belonged to all its citizens, it was important not to provoke unpleasant situations, she stressed, recalling protests held in late August by justice-seeking Albanian villagers in response to a visit by Serbian pilgrims.  Such incidents underscored the reason why justice was so important and why all victims in Kosovo deserved the truth.  Justice was the only way to build peace and reconciliation, she said.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), while reiterating full support to UNMIK, called for a review of the frequency in which the Council considered Kosovo.  He also urged that the reconfiguration of the Mission be considered as well.  Future progress must be made on the ground through the Belgrade/Pristina dialogue and reconciliation.  Citing significant agreements in that regard, he called for the acceleration of implementation in the months to come.  Normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade was critical, as was further consolidation of the rule of law in Kosovo.  Also reiterating support to the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), he emphasized the need to fight extremism.  Concerned over the tensions raised by border demarcation and other issues, he called for inclusive dialogue between different political forces in Kosovo, adding that France would continue to support efforts by leaders in Kosovo to garner international recognition of their state.

JULIO HELDER MOURA LUCAS (Angola), stressing that Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) continued to be in force, noted what he called negative developments in the Kosovo Assembly.  He welcomed the commitment of the new Serb Government to intensify engagement with Pristina and expected that further common ground on the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities would be reached.  Implementation of other agreements reached must be accelerated, and security for all communities must be ensured, as well.  Welcoming progress in consolidating the rule of law in Kosovo, he affirmed the importance of UNMIK’s role, voicing hope that the Belgrade/Pristina dialogue would make progress, keeping in mind the welfare of all people of the Balkans.

CAROLYN SCHWALGER (New Zealand), while noting a number of agreements that were emerging from the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, said that the pace of implementing them had been relatively slow in some instances.  Both sides should focus their efforts on delivering commitments and refrain from taking actions that would divert energy away from constructive dialogue.  The Secretary-General’s previous report had highlighted a significant reduction in aggressive protests and political violence.  Therefore, it was disappointing to see disruptive tactics in the Kosovo Assembly.  “When elected representatives engage in such behaviour, what example does this set for the communities they represent?” she asked, encouraging the parties to distance themselves from those tactics.  She also welcomed progress towards the establishment of a specialized court to try cases brought forward by the European Union Special Investigative Task Force in Kosovo, adding that she looked forward to it being operational as soon as possible.  Among other things, she emphasized that the frequency of Security Council meetings was not justified by the situation on the ground, especially when contrasted against other pressing issues.  For that reason, she said she would be open to considering a possible restructure of the Mission in Kosovo.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) said resolution 1244 (1999) served as the legal basis to solve the situation in Kosovo, entailing strict respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia.  He welcomed the agreement on telecommunications and the rebuilding of the Mitrovica Bridge.  A solution, based on dialogue, should be found for the mining complex.  Respect for the cultural differences and religious beliefs for each community were the bedrock of coexistence.  He urged authorities to make more efforts to address the problems of internally displaced persons.  Underscoring the importance of accountability, he called for cooperation with the Specialist Chambers that addressed the crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army.  There was also a need to prioritize policies to give voice to survivors of sexual violence during the Kosovo conflict.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) expressed support for European Union-facilitated dialogue but said he was disappointed at the delay in implementation of the agreements reached.  Welcoming the agreement on telecommunications, he called on both sides to rekindle dialogue without further delay to guarantee full implementation of agreements reached in 2015.  He also expressed hope that agreement would be reached on matters of cultural heritage assets and called on both parties to fully implement the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities as soon as possible.  He expressed concern at the current political stalemate regarding the border demarcation with Montenegro.

ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) said that the lack of headway made on the ground meant that UNMIK was doubly pertinent in the promotion of human rights and governance at the local levels.  The grassroots level was where reconciliation could be achieved.  The Brussels dialogue facilitated by the European Union had not borne any fruit in 2016, he said, urging that the dialogue be resumed at the highest level and focused on the implementation of reached agreements.  Welcoming the telecommunication agreement he said the recent national Trepča law had undermined the spirit of dialogue.  Unilateral measures neutralized progress already made. The dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina contributed not only to the stability of Serbia and Kosovo but also to the Balkan region.

STEPHEN HICKEY (United Kingdom) observed that while a lot had happened in the world during the last three months, very little had happened in Kosovo that warranted the Council to again debate the matter.  The people of Kosovo and Serbia lived in a world where the prospect of the future mattered more than the divisions of the past.  Noting that the implementation of agreements reached during the European Union-facilitated dialogue had slowed, he said normalization of relations was in the interest of the people of Kosovo, Serbia and the whole region.  Dialogue was also needed between politicians in the Kosovo Parliament.  He urged all parties to engage on the issues of the past, including the issue of displaced persons and of accountability.  He called for a reduction in the number of sessions on Kosovo and for the downscaling and restructuring of UNMIK.

YOSHIFUMI OKAMURA (Japan) said numerous people in Kosovo had regained self-sufficiency with the support of Governments, the United Nations, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and individuals.  There was now a Constitution, Government and Parliament.  According to the International Monetary Fund, Kosovo had achieved real economic growth of 4 per cent last year, with similar projections for the next five years.  It still faced challenges, including slow progress on talks with Serbia and a low number of returnees.  However, Kosovo’s problems should now be solved by the people of Kosovo and the region.  The Council should consider withdrawing UNMIK or, at the very least, focusing limited peacekeeping resources on areas of more serious clashes. “This is especially clear to me after having just returned from a Council visit to the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo],” he emphasized.  Thus, a Council briefing every three months was no longer necessary; the Council’s effective functioning should take priority.  Even if a report on Kosovo was drawn up every three months, the Council should decide whether to accompany it with a briefing.

VLADIMIR K. SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation), speaking on a point of order, asked for the representative of Japan to take his bottle of wine off the Council table.

Mr. OKAMURA (Japan), taking the floor in response, said that he could find no procedural prohibition in that regard.

WILMER ALFONZO MÉNDEZ GRATEROL (Venezuela), stressing that resolution 1244 (1999) was still relevant, said that the territorial integrity of Serbia must be respected.  He urged both parties to redouble and accelerate efforts to reach and implement agreements on practical matters regarding Kosovo.  Full respect for minority rights must be ensured and conditions created to allow the return of displaced persons.  Property sales must be restricted in that regard.  Welcoming institutional progress in resolving the fate of missing persons, he called for further progress in reconciliation between communities, including operationalization of the Specialist Chambers.  Measures to stem extremism must include social measures, as well as security measures to keep terrorist groups from recruiting.

SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia) welcomed economic progress in Kosovo and envisaged further economic reforms and greater efforts to deal with unemployment.  She called for the resumption of the Belgrade/Pristina dialogue as soon as possible, and for the implementation of agreements on Serb Municipalities, communications and other areas.  Sharing concern on tensions raised by recent developments, she urged all parties to engage in dialogue and consultations to resolve issues amicably and within the rule of law.  She called on the people of Kosovo to seek reconciliation between communities as well, and welcomed progress in establishing the Specialist Chambers.  Supporting the work of UNMIK, she also echoed the call by other members to decrease the frequency of meetings on Kosovo.

WU HAITAO (China), stressing respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, said that a proper settlement to the issue of Kosovo must be found within the framework of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).  He called for intensified dialogue aimed at a sustainable solution, adding his support for the continuing role of UNMIK.

Mr. SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation), citing attacks against Kosovar Serbians, said that the situation in Kosovo remained unstable.  In addition, he stressed that Serbian cultural and religious heritage must be protected against continuing threats.  Expressing concern over moves to seize commercial assets in Kosovo, he said that Pristina had sabotaged further dialogue through such actions.  Given all such concerns, UNMIK must take a more prominent role.  In addition, he maintained that the work of the mechanisms being developed to investigate crimes of the Kosovo Liberation Army was already marred and that operations were not transparent.  He called for further consideration of the role of EULEX in that regard.  Noting, with regret, the reluctance of the multinational Kosovo Force (KFOR) to meet with Russian representatives, he underlined that his country’s related concerns must be responded to.  He finally emphasized the need for stable staffing of UNMIK and quarterly reporting on the Mission.  No one had the right to revoke Security Council resolutions and resolution 1244 (1999) remained relevant.

VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) observed that implementation of the Brussels agreements remained slow, with serious delays in implementing outstanding commitments and with divisive rhetoric and violence present.  The commitment of both parties to move forward in creating the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities in Kosovo and implementing agreements on freedom of movement as well as integration of the judiciary should be translated into more specific and effective actions; those issues were vital for enhanced relations between Belgrade and Pristina.  Political tensions around territorial delineation with Montenegro were also having a negative effect on Kosovo’s European integration path because the demarcation agreement must be ratified in order to realize visa liberalization with the European Union.  Another divisive issue was ownership and structure of the Trepča industrial complex, he said, expressing concern over inflammatory rhetoric on that issue during the past month.  He urged the parties to engage in closer consultations to resolve that situation, and to avoid further provocation or violence.

ISOBEL COLEMAN (United States), welcoming the economic progress in Kosovo and the positive tone of the Secretary-General’s report, said the situation was different now from 1999.  Therefore, it was time to rationalize UNMIK in terms of structure and size. While Kosovo faced challenges, the Council did not have the luxury of deploying resources there when they were so necessary elsewhere.  The briefing cycle could also be reduced.  Although there were positive signs of economic development, the unemployment problem of 33 per cent must be urgently addressed.  The process of restructuring Trepča Mining should be pursued transparently and in cooperation with all stakeholders.  She said she appreciated guidelines produced by EULEX to police soccer matches.  Progress in the areas of justice and the rule of law would combat corruption and attract foreign investments.  Encouraged by the work Kosovo was undertaking to address the problem of foreign fighters, she said those fighters presented a threat to all countries.  Kosovo’s membership in international organizations was not only good for Kosovo but for the whole international community, she said, adding that everybody should recognize Kosovo as an independent State.

FODÉ SECK (Senegal), Council President for November, spoke in his national capacity, stating that the current tensions were undermining progress made.  He encouraged all players in Kosovo to work for ongoing dialogue with Belgrade.  Welcoming progress made by both parties in the European Union-facilitated dialogue, he also said it was important that agreements be implemented effectively.  Dialogue was the only way to normalize the situations.  He expressed concern at the situation between Kosovo and Montenegro regarding the border demarcation.  More efforts were needed on the human rights front in order to increase the return of refugees and build inclusive societies.  As well, he called upon all stakeholders to increase efforts in the area of development and peace, particularly in regards to the 2015 agreement on north Kosovo.

Mr. DAČIĆ, Foreign Minister of Serbia, taking the floor a second time, asked why Kosovo’s residents were fleeing to Western Europe if Kosovo was such an ideal place.  He also asked why Kosovo had not prosecuted the criminals in its midst, if grave crimes had taken place.  The bombing of Serbia was not based upon a decision of the Security Council, yet it had not been investigated.  In addition, he asked Ms. Çitaku what she was talking about when she spoke about colonialism.  Support by Western powers did not lend credence to her lies, nor did it legitimize ethnic cleansing that would occur if Serbs and Serb heritage were not protected.  Kosovo intended to merge with Albania, he maintained.  He criticized States that had supported Kosovo’s declaration of independence, asking them how they would feel if their territorial integrity were not respected.  He called for dialogue toward a fair, lasting solution, one which must not be brought about by force.

Ms. ÇITAKU of Kosovo, also taking the floor for a second time, said that the statement by the representative of Serbia was troubling.  Accusing the international community, the leader of the free world and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for being involved in Kosovo for their own interest was insulting.  Kosovo was a clear example of a world coming together to defend human dignity, life and humanitarian values.  Kosovo was a small country, and its biggest resource was its human resources.

The war in Kosovo did not happen 500 years ago but in 1998 and 1999 in the eyes of the world, she said.  Interpretations could be different, but facts could not be changed.  She expressed hope that one day she would come to the Council and hear an apology and see signs of remorse on the part of Serbia, which was in Serbia’s interest as well.  Unfortunately, Kosovo could not indict people in absentia, and the fact was that most of the people who had committed war crimes had left Kosovo, she said, noting that Mr. Ivanović had been indicted by EULEX.

For information media. Not an official record.