Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti
Permanent Representative of
Brazil to the United Nations
Debate on the United Nations Interim Administration
Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
New York, 22 January 2010
We would like to extend a warm welcome to H.E. Mr. Boris Tadic, President of the Republic of Serbia, and thank him for his statement. I also thank Mr. Skender Hyseni for his remarks. We appreciate the briefing made by the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, and commend him for the important role UNMIK is playing in Kosovo.
Brazil has a firm and longstanding commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes. In 1999, Brazil was an elected member of the Security Council and voted in favour of resolution 1244. It was intended to provide a legal framework for a negotiated solution to the dispute on the status of Kosovo. The need to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was also expressly recognized.
Resolution 1244 (1999) remains in force and therefore continues to be the key parameter guiding the UN presence in Kosovo.
Such position was expressed by Brazil in the public hearings conducted at the International Court of Justice, in December 2009, as part of the proceedings related to the advisory opinion on the unilateral declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo.
As the Security Council continues to be seized of the matter, the opinion of the Court, possibly later this year, will be a crucial element to bear in mind.
Until such time, UNMIK should continue to play its constructive role in promoting engagement between Pristina and Belgrade. We expect both parties to cooperate fully with the Mission. Success in this area will benefit all.
As stressed by the Secretary-General, the overall security situation in Kosovo remains relatively calm. This is due to the restraint shown by the parties and the population, which is to be commended. Stability has also been further sustained by the deployment of EULEX. It should continue to operate under the overall authority and within the status-neutral framework of the United Nations, therefore preserving the integrity of resolution 1244.
Also positive are the signs of a possible improvement in the cooperation between UNMIK and the Kosovo authorities.
It is, however, worrisome that municipal elections not called for by UNMIK were held in Kosovo on 15 November. Under resolution 1244, the holding of elections is one of the main responsibilities of the international civil presence in Kosovo. In the same vein, by-elections were held by Serbia in the northernmost municipality of Kosovo on 29 November. UNMIK did not participate in the preparation for these elections, which were not called for by the Special Representative of the Secretary General.
We share the Secretary-General's disappointment at the lack of concrete progress in the implementation of practical arrangements regarding the protection of cultural heritage. Progress on this issue would be relevant as a much-needed gesture of goodwill, which, in turn, could set a positive example to follow in more politically sensitive negotiations.
We note the concern expressed by President Tadic at possible unilateral actions in North Kosovo.
There is no acceptable alternative to dialogue and negotiation when differences arise. We urge the parties to resume efforts to reach an agreed solution.
Meanwhile, it is their duty to ensure that the political and security situation on the ground remain stable and every minority community be fully protected from threats or acts of intimidation and harassment.