I would like to welcome the presence of the distinguished Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro, Mr Vuk Draskovic, at this meeting of the Security Council.
My delegation would also like to express appreciation to Special Representative Harri Holkeri for introducing the report of the Secretary-General and for the work he has been carrying out as Head of UNMIK.
In spite of what this Organization has been doing in order to protect the population and help the cause of a stable Kosovo, the situation in the province has deteriorated. The ideal of a multiethnic, tolerant and democratic society is once again threatened.
The international community, including Brazil, has already voiced its vehement condemnation of the episodes of ethnic violence witnessed in Kosovo in March. All those responsible must be brought to justice, with the full cooperation of the Provisional Institutions. Effective public security measures, such as the apprehension of illegal weapons, must also be taken.
Intents to force a premature solution to the status question through violence and intimidation must be promptly thwarted. Brazil continues to lend its full support to the process of peace and reconciliation as foreseen by resolution 1244 and the “standards before status” policy for Kosovo.
Last month we welcomed the launching of the Standards Implementation Plan and its set of guidelines and goals in the effort of bringing peace and stability. Immediate and steady progress is needed to speed up a long-term political solution that will reflect the needs of all populations living in the province. We concur with the Secretary-General in that “the implementation plan will need to be recalibrated and prioritized by giving additional emphasis to security and matters relating to the rule of law, minority rights and protection, return, and the devolution of functions from the central level to local bodies, as well as economic development”.
There is no doubt that episodes of ethnic violence should also raise an alert to the international community. While our attention is devoted to new conflicts, some of the old ones have recurred.
We wonder how such an “organized, widespread and targeted campaign”, whereby “properties were demolished, public facilities such as schools and health clinics destroyed, communities surrounded and threatened and residents forced to leave their homes”, a campaign by which 730 houses and 36 religious sites were damaged or destroyed, could have escalated to such proportions.
The report before the Council mentions the number of injured officers of UNMIK, KPS and KFOR and the number of arrests undertaken in connection with the violence. This morning Special Representative Hokeri has elaborated on the response of UNMIK and local police forces to the criminal events.
My delegation welcomes the establishment of a “crisis management review body” by Special Representative Holkeri to assess the Mission’s response to the crisis and would like to suggest that their conclusions be brought to the attention of the Council, at an appropriate time.
Reconciliation became more elusive after the March problems, but we believe that an unwavering commitment by all parties is the key to advance the process of standards and move on to the next steps of the peace process. This commitment is particularly important on the part of the Provisional Institutions and the political leaders in Kosovo, but also from governments in the region. We congratulate the new Government in Serbia and Montenegro and hope it will engage in a fruitful dialogue with the leadership in Kosovo and with UNMIK. We expect the coming months to bring the intensification of the talks between Pristina and Belgrade.