Deterioration of Situation in Kosovo
Statement by Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN

Security Council, Public Meeting, New York,
18 March 2004

Mr. President,

I would like to welcome the presence of the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, at this important meeting, and also to express our greetings to the Foreign Minister of Germany, HE Mr. Joschka Fischer, and to the Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro, HE Mr. Goran Svilanovic. 

2.Brazil is following closely the events unfolding in Kosovo. As the sound of gunfire and explosions is heard once again in the streets of Mitrovica and many other towns, Brazil shares the indignation and sorrow of the international community at another surge of intolerance, revenge, and ethnical violence in that region of the world. 

3.The peacekeeping and international police forces reacted quickly to try to defuse yesterday’s riots. Unfortunately, their effort could not avoid the escalation of violence that resulted in the death of civilians and left hundreds injured. Moreover, also to our deep regret, they became themselves victims of blind violence, as a number of KFOR soldiers and UNMIK civilian police are among the wounded. We expect that those responsible for such acts will face justice and that the announced deployment of new peacekeeping units will strenghten KFOR and UNMIK’s effort to prevent further clashes.

4.During its five years of tireless work in Kosovo, the UN has helped fight the scourges of crime, terror and ethnic cleansing. It is disheartening to see that, despite that strenuous endeavour, the situation threatens once again to deteriorate into rioting and chaos. This is, undoubtedly, the severest case of unrest since the end of the conflict in the region, in 1999.

Mr. President,

5.Our Delegation has reaffirmed, on many instances, the Brazilian commitment to a stable, democratic, peaceful and multiethnic Kosovo. We firmly supported joint action to promote reconciliation and stability. We believe that full protection of human rights is essential to reach peace on the basis of the international law.

6.Brazil continues to support the full implementation of Resolution 1244 and the “standards before status” policy, as the only reasonable choice for a peaceful Kosovo. 

Mr. President,

7.We condemn ethnically induced brutality. In this regard, we add our voice to the Secretary-General’s, in his strong condemnation of the incidents and in his call for an immediate halt to the ethnic violence. We also fully support the work of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Harri Holkeri.

8.The alarming outburst of violence calls for appropriate and vigorous reaction by the international community. It reminds us that many important challenges still remain. Nevertheless, nothing can be done without the serious effort of all parties involved, and this includes local authorities both in Pristina and Belgrade.

9.A truly multiethnic society can only be built by the decisive involvement and participation of all individuals and groups, including all minorities.The ultimate responsibility in preventing Kosovo from being engulfed again in conflict rests on their people and leaders: their commitment to the Provisional Institutions, their peaceful engagement in the political process, and their willingness to fight corruption and adopt needed economic reforms will determine their ability to find the way out of the present deadlock.

Thank you.