At a session dedicated to Kosovo, UN Security Council ambassadors called on Belgrade and Pristina to continue their talks.
Nevertheless, they presented opposing views on the situation in Kosovo ten years after the unilateral declaration of independence.
At the meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, where a regular quarterly report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was presented, they agreed in condemning the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, but also about the significance of the implementation of the Belgrade-Pristina agreements reached far, for the sake of peace and stability in the region.
Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said that ten years after the unilateral declaration of independence, “sponsors of this project” should consider the consequences of this measure, assessing that “Kosovo does not have a clear perspective today” and that Kosovo’s membership requests in several international institutions have been rejected.
“There are major problems in the province and the international community must monitor them closely,” Nebenzya said, warning about corruption and organized crime, a “catastrophic” economic situation, and a low level of security.
He said the expectation that the number of states that recognize Kosovo would grow was without foundation, and that some countries have even withdrawn their recognition.
The representative of Russia recalled that Pristina does not respect the agreement on the creation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO), stressing that EU officials are “tolerant of this stagnation,” that there are no clear indications yet when the Special Court for KLA crimes would begin to work, while at the same time Belgrade shows readiness to continue dialogue and to compromise.
He warned of the dangers posed by the return of radical Islamists from Syria and Iraq, arguing that this poses a great risk for the Balkans, but also for the whole of Europe.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the situation in Kosovo has improved over the last ten years, that “multi-ethnic democracy in Kosovo” was strengthening, but that there is always room for improvement, adding that the United States wants “real peace.”
She said that Belgrade and Pristina need to “as soon as possible” reach an agreement on normalization of relations, adding that this would be “a win for both sides.”
“The coming months are crucial, but the benefits are clear,” said Haley.
She also said that the United States condemns the murder of Oliver Ivanovic and offered assistance to the Kosovo institutions, adding that she believes that Kosovo is capable of solving the case.
Representative of China Wu Haitao pointed out that UN Security Council Resolution 1244 should be a “legal base” and added that China respects the sovereignty of Serbia.
He also said that China welcomed the high-level dialogue and hoped that Belgrade and Pristina would implement agreements, reach mutual reconciliation and a permanent solution that would be in the interest of both sides.
The Chinese Ambassador said that the interest of the people comes first, and added that his country supports the work of the UN Mission in Kosovo and Metohija (UNMIK).
Representative of France Anne Gueguen called on the Kosovo authorities to bring Ivanovic’s killers to justice as soon as possible.
She said that ten years after Kosovo’s declaration of independence was “France on the side of Kosovo and of institution building.”
“This is a success story, but much remains to be done. Kosovo can count on our support,” said she.
The British representative said about ten years after Kosovo’s declaration of independence progress has been made, and that Kosovo has economic growth.
“It’s not the same country as ten years ago when UNMIK was established,” said he, adding that building democracy requires time.
He welcomed the statement by Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, who said that the special court for KLA crimes would not be abolished, but also urged the authorities to resolve the case of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic.