The future status of Kosovo will only be taken up after the province’s Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) attain certain benchmarks – including free, fair and regular elections, free media and a sound and impartial legal system – outlined in a United Nations-backed plan, the Security Council said today.
“The Security Council reaffirms its strong support for the ‘Standards before Status’ policy that was devised for Kosovo…in order to reach the goal of establishing in Kosovo a multi-ethnic, stable and democratic society,” the Council President for April, German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger, said in statement read out at an open meeting.
He said the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan (KSIP) unveiled last month should serve as a basis for assessing the progress of the PISG in meeting the benchmarks. The Plan is a detailed guide that sets specific goals in such areas as the building of democratic institutions, the enforcement of rights for minorities and the creation of a functioning economy. Its provisions also include the holding of free and fair elections and the establishment of an impartial legal system.
The Council statement also strongly urged the PISG to demonstrate its full and unconditional commitment to a multi-ethnic Kosovo, particularly with respect to the protection and promotion of the rights of members of the minority communities, as well as human rights, equal security, freedom of movement and sustainable returns for all inhabitants of Kosovo.
The Council stressed that it was essential to review the key sections of the document dealing with “sustainable returns and the rights of communities and their members” and “freedom of movement,” calling on the PISG to take urgent steps on those two standards in order to reach out to the Serb and other communities who had suffered most in the large-scale inter-ethnic violence of 17 to 20 March that had resulted in many dead and wounded and the destruction of personal property and Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries.
“The Security Council, strongly condemning those events, emphasizes that no party can be allowed to profit or to advance a political agenda through violent measures,” Ambassador Pleuger said. “It calls on the PISG and all political leaders to take responsibility in the current situation and to ensure that such acts and threats of violence are not repeated.”
Nineteen people were killed in the worst violence seen in the province since the UN assumed administration of Kosovo in 1999. Nearly 1,000 people were injured – including dozens of police officers – in rioting between Albanians and Serbs, and some 29 churches and monasteries, 800 houses and more than 150 vehicles were destroyed or badly damaged.