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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
By
H.E. MR. LAURO L. BAJA, JR.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations


Open Meeting on the Situation in Kosovo
Security Council Chamber, 13 April 2004

 

Mr. President

We thank Undersecretary General Guehenno for briefing us on the situation in Kosovo and for presenting to us the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan.

The Standards Implementation Plan comes to us a few weeks after Kosovo was convulsed by the worst outbreak of interethnic violence since the international community stepped in to restore the rule of law five years ago. The quarters of the Philippine police contingent were among those razed there together with their belongings.

Kosovo is a conflict area where violence can be reasonably expected to be at its least, considering the presence of what one may call a state-of-the-art conflict resolution and peace building. The power and the prestige of NATO and KFOR, of UNMIK and the UN. and the support of the international community are all there. Its is practically and technically under a UN protection. Sadly, however, these were not sufficient to abort the violence.

We commend, however, the swift response of the Special Representative of the Secretary General to restore the rule of law and note with satisfaction that steps are being taken to prosecute the perpetrators of last month’s violence. In this connection we would like to know or verify the reports that Kosovo is emerging as a center of organized crime in the region and possibly a base of operation of the Al-Qaida.

Under the Standards Implementation Plan, we expect the establishment of democratic institutions to move forward. It is important to pursue the holding of elections before the end of the year with the participation of all communities. Political transformation must keep pace with the fight to restore security. It is crucial to have as many stakeholders on board the plan as possible. Also an effective communication strategy to demonstrate to the population the benefit of adhering to the plan is essential.

Toward this end, we continue to believe that the situation in Kosovo is essentially an ethnic dilemma. The Albanians and their supporters will accept nothing less than independence and the Serbs and their supporters firmly want to remain part of Serbia. Thus, the Albanians remain reluctant to support the rights for the Serb minority, and the Serb minority does not recognize the authorities of Kosovo’s institutions. UNMIK’s challenge is how to bridge this divide, how to build the trust necessary to bridge the gulf between the two communities.

We went through the history of the situation and have come across the Agenda for Coexistence. We are wondering how far the three major actors - Albania, Serbia and Belgrade have cooperated on this.

Also what is UNMIK’s assessment on how far the ethnic groups, not only the leaders of Kosovo, have accepted the strategy of “standards before status?” We appreciate the fact that raising the status issue may radicalize all sides but it is difficult to see how it could be avoided.

The people themselves must be able to own the strategy and the Plan so that no one feels ostracized. The challenge for UNMIK and KFOR and the rest of the international community is how to instill enough confidence and trust among the peoples to overcome the vendetta and the fear as a result of violence before, during and after the conflict. In this connection, an effective judicial system is crucial.

In the last briefing to us by Ambassador Holkieri, we endorsed his plan and UNMIK’s strategy of developing directly with the people their own political constituency for their reforms and strategy for the political and economic stability of Kosovo. We continue to do so.

Thank you Mr. President.



 



 




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