The United Nations’ Security Council has started the debate on the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ quarterly report on the work of the UN Mission in Kosovo, saying on Monday that that period was marked by a deadlock in the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue.
In his January – April report, Guterres said he was worried by the worsening of Belgrade – Pristina relations, especially following the arrest of Marko Djuric, Serbia’s Government official for Kosovo last month.
Guterres added that he was also bothered with a slow pace of an investigation into the assassination of a Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic in mid-January, and called on both sides to refrain from the inflammatory rhetoric.
The Chief of the UN civilian mission in Kosovo Zahir Tanin said that “the rise of the political temperature in Kosovo is an obstacle to the dialogue, but that new incentives from the European Union should represent an opportunity for Belgrade and Pristina to make some progress.”
The Council suggested to both sides to continue the dialogue as the only right way of solving the issues.
Speaking on behalf of Belgrade, Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, requested that the format of the sessions on Kosovo remain the same after some Western countries demanded it changes to closed-door meetings.
“The situation in Kosovo and Metohija (Serbia’s official name for Kosovo) has changed since 1999 (the NATO bombing), but it is far from ideal and if we look back to the previous reports we can see it is not ‘a young democracy’ and ‘a multi-ethnic society’ (there) which faces challenges from time to time, as some would like to present,” Dacic said.
He added Serbia was committed to the dialogue and that it has proved “a high level of political maturity and responsibility over the years,” accusing Pristina of not fulfilling its obligations.
Dacic also said that the UNMIK has done a lot in changing the situation on the ground in Kosovo, but that “the work has not been finished yet,” adding the UN Security Council has a duty and an obligation to help to find a solution for normalisation of the actuality in Kosovo.
Kosovo’s ambassador to the US Vlora Çitaku told the UN session that Belgrade should recognise Kosovo’s independence, which is “free and independent, and what will not change.”
“Kosovo’s independence does not mean a loss for Serbia since it has never been a part of Serbia,” Çitaku said. Serbia, on the other hand, sees its rights on Kosovo in the history when current Kosovo’s territory was a part of a medieval Serbian empire and then incorporated into Serbia in the early 20th century (later part of Yugoslavia).