" Report of the Secretary-General on the UnMiK (S/2005/335) at the United Nations Security Council"

Statement by Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg
 Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN
 Security Council, New York, May 27, 2005


Mr. President,

I wish to thank Special Representative Søren Jessen-Petersen for his insightful, comprehensive presentation about the report of the Secretary-General on Kosovo. I avail myself of this opportunity to renew the expression of our support for the excellent work he is doing at the head of UNMIK.

As Kosovo approaches a unique, decisive moment, with consequences for the entire Balkan region, we are encouraged by the indications of an increased awareness by Kosovo's people and leadership about the effort that lies ahead. Growing commitment by the Provisional Institutions towards meeting the conditions necessary to start the talks on the final status is a welcome sign of political maturity. The SG's report and the briefing by the SRSG highlight that a significant proportion of the Priority Standards Goals has been achieved. This enhances the prospects for launching the status talks already this year.

Fortunately, after the regrettable outbreaks of violence in March last year, the Provisional Institutions have intensified their efforts to implement the Standards. Consistent efforts to improve the situation of minority communities in the province were made, with a view to fulfilling an essential precondition for advancement towards the process to determine Kosovo’s status.

The dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade was also somewhat improved. We welcome the resumption of the work of the Working Groups on Missing Persons, Energy, Returns of Displaced People and Transport and Telecommunications. As to the much-needed economic reform, steps made in the privatization process and in the economic integration to the region are encouraging. Much remains to be done, though, if we consider the dire economic situation of Kosovo, which still has to deal with an unemployment rate of over 60 per cent.

In spite of all the positive aspects, the temptations of an excessively positive assessment of the situation should be avoided. The Secretary-General warns in an unequivocal way that none of the eight Standards has so far been entirely fulfilled. The situation of minorities is still a reason for deep concern, especially regarding freedom of movement and access to justice. Also, refugees and displaced people still face a desperate predicament, as the slow pace of the returns process is hindering the achievement of the respective standard. There is also much to be done regarding the prevalence of the rule of law, the reform of local Government and the full enjoyment by all citizens of their fundamental rights.

The responsibility for the process must not be put entirely on the Kosovo Government's shoulders, though. Minorities, especially the Serb minority, have the fundamental obligation of engaging fully in the quest for solutions by taking advantage of all opportunities to participate in Kosovo's institutions. The Kosovo Serbs must be encouraged by Belgrade to do so.

The Security Council must remain committed to Resolution 1244 and to the "standards before status" policy, under which definitive progress in standards implementation is a precondition for the determination of the final status.

We believe that the intention of the Secretary-General of appointing a Special Envoy to lead the assessment process, starting this year, will indicate the road ahead. By carrying on consultations with the parties and the international community, the Special Envoy would be able to make an independent evaluation of the work done so far. The assessment on the level of attainment of the standards will help determining whether the conditions for final status talks have been created.

More than ever, any freezing of the current situation in Kosovo would lead to further deterioration of already difficult political, social and economic conditions. The review process, therefore, should be carried out in all seriousness. Above all, its conclusions and results must not be anticipated or taken for granted. None of the parties should be allowed to unduly influence the results of the review with threats of any kind, and the Council must make it clear that a resurgence of violence will not be rewarded.

Mr. President,

The persistent efforts to achieve dialogue and understanding between the parties, through the mediation carried out by the Contact Group, have been instrumental in pushing the whole process forward. Peace in Kosovo should, ultimately, rely on winning the hearts of its people. Healing the wounds of the past and rebuilding bridges between the different communities will create an environment favorable to tolerance. All parties must be ready to work towards a compromise capable of turning Kosovo from a source of instability into a model of peaceful inter-ethnic coexistence.

Thank you