The United Nations needs to play a continuing role in Kosovo – which declared its independence from Serbia in February – to ensure that there is stability across the Balkans, top officials from two European countries told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate today.
“Without a stable Kosovo, there is no stability in the Balkans,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Kinga Göncz said in her address today, urging the ongoing presence of the international community based on the Security Council resolution from 1999 that established the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
“We also remain committed to contributing to the stability of Kosovo through the EULEX [the European Union Rule of Law Mission], KFOR [the NATO-led Kosovo Force] and an international civilian office as part of the international presence,” she added.
Ms. Göncz stressed that the resolution of the Kosovo Assembly and its new constitution must fully commit Kosovo to democracy, the rule of law, the protection of Serbs and other minority communities, and the protection of cultural and religious heritage.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told the Assembly today that the UN, the EU and NATO need to continue to cooperate in Kosovo, which has a majority ethnic Albanian population, to benefit of the wider Balkans as a whole.
“Let me assure you that both democratic and prosperous Serbia and Kosovo do have a place in the European family and that the Czech Republic is ready to lend them a helping hand,” he said.
Mr. Schwarzenberg also welcomed the recent arrest and transfer of Radovan Karadžić, the former Bosnian Serb leader facing war crimes charges, to the UN-founded International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
Calling it “a promising sign of cooperation of the new Serbian Government with the international community,” he urged the Security Council to provide sufficient time for the ICTY to complete its work.