Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti
Permanent Representative of
Brazil to the United Nations
Debate on United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo
New York, 17 May 2010
I welcome H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia. We thank him for his statement. I also thank SRSG Lamberto Zannier for his briefing and Mr. Skender Hyseni for his remarks.
As Brazil stated in previous occasions, resolution 1244 (1999) was intended to provide a legal framework for a negotiated solution to the dispute on the status of Kosovo. It also expressly recognizes the need to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The resolution remains in force and therefore continues to be the key parameter guiding the UN presence in Kosovo and international efforts to resolve the dispute. In this regard, we look forward to the outcome of the proceedings in the Hague on this matter. The search for a negotiated settlement on the final status of Kosovo should remain our ultimate goal.
We are satisfied that the security situation on the ground remains largely calm. UNMIK continues to play an important role in promoting engagement between Belgrade and Pristina as well as with relevant stakeholders.
It is also positive that EULEX remains active in its efforts to support stability in Kosovo. We note with satisfaction the appointment by the European Union of a facilitator for the protection of the Serbian Orthodox Church's religious and cultural heritage.
The risk of increased ethnic tensions in northern Kosovo, however, has not disappeared. Reported attacks against Serbian returnees in some localities, for example, are quite disturbing and must not be tolerated. Regardless of the position one takes on the status of Kosovo, now or in the future, all concerned must ensure that it is a place where ethnic tolerance and multiculturalism allow for a peaceful coexistence among communities. We urge KFOR and KPS to redouble their vigilance to prevent new incidents of violence.
Continued disputes related to the provision of services to the population are also worrisome. We fully endorse the call by the Secretary-General for all sides to demonstrate openness and flexibility in this regard. Pragmatism is what serves people better at this juncture. De-politicising problems will help find solutions or at least some "modus vivendi" that addresses the practical needs of regular citizens. The UNMIK-facilitated working groups on issues of interest for local communities in northern Kosovo show that such cooperation is possible.
Full cooperation with UNMIK is also needed. It is regrettable that Pristina did not consult with the Mission in preparing and announcing its "Strategy for Northern Kosovo". Kosovar authorities must always bear in mind that the Security Council has given the Mission the authority to administer Kosovo in its entirety.
In the Western Balkans, as much as anywhere else, there is no substitute for dialogue and negotiation when differences arise and have to be surmounted in the interest of the people.
We hope that sustained engagement and full cooperation with UNMIK, by all stakeholders, will pave the way for a transparent and inclusive approach to address issues still unsettled. We also hope that the advisory opinion of the ICJ will help all parties achieve a just solution.
Brazil will continue to support the work of the Special Representative in implementing the mandate of UNMIK, under the framework of resolution 1244.