NEW YORK, 31 MARCH 1998
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TADEU SOARES, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3868th MEETING (the situation in Kosovo)
Our deep concern at the situation in Kosovo cannot be overstated. Not only are issues of political and human rights at stake, but instability in Kosovo also threatens international peace and security in the region. The international community should send an unambiguous signal of its concern and should unite in its efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution on Kosovo.
We therefore fully support the role assumed by the Contact Group in defining an action plan to end the violence in Kosovo and to bring about a political solution through unconditional dialogue, as set out in the statements issued by Contact Group Foreign Ministers at London on 9 March and at Bonn on 25 March. Consequently, we strongly support the draft resolution before the Council today, which would establish an arms embargo on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The goal of the draft resolution is clear: to end the violence both by the security forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and by terrorists, and to promote a meaningful process of unconditional dialogue with the leadership of the Kosovar Albanian community.
This unconditional dialogue should be oriented towards giving Kosovo a substantially greater degree of autonomy, including meaningful self-administration. The outcome of the dialogue should not be predetermined, and it should be based on the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as well as on the principles of the Helsinki Final Act adopted by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and of the United Nations Charter.
Let us be clear: we support neither independence nor the status quo. We call on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovar Albanian community to renounce violence and to pursue this dialogue and reach a mutually acceptable agreement. We utterly condemn the use of force by either side.
An important step towards a process of dialogue has been the agreement on measures to implement the 1996 Education Agreement. We urge that this be followed through effectively.
The role of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in bringing about an acceptable resolution on Kosovo is equally important, and we urge the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to cooperate fully with the Personal Representative of Chairman-in-Office of OSCE and Special Representative of the European Union, Mr. Felipe Gonzalez, and to allow the return of the long-term OSCE mission.
We hope that the arms embargo the Council is establishing today will not be in place for long. It is in the best interests of all concerned that swift measures be taken to initiate the peaceful dialogue to which I have referred. We trust that this opportunity will be seized.
In conclusion, I wish also to say that as a member of the European Union, Portugals position on the matter before the Council today is fully reflected in the statement to be made by the representative of the United Kingdom on behalf of the European Union.