FM criticizes Pristina, wants UNMIK's role strengthened
Ivica Dacic has said that Belgrade is committed to a constructive dialogue with Pristina and the implementation of the agreements reached so far.Source: Beta, Tanjug
But that Pristina has failed to take necessary steps in that regard, notably in relation to the Community of Serb Municipalities, the outgoing Serbian foreign minister noted.
Due to a lack of political will and crisis of institutions in Pristina, it is with regret that I note that the key points of the Brussels agreement relating to the establishment and functioning of the Community have not been implemented yet, he said during Monday's meeting of the UN Security Council dedicated to the work of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
The circumstances in which the Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija lives are still very complex, and Serbia expects the international community, primarily the UN, to offer continued assistance in building trust as the only foundation for a normal life for everyone in Kosovo and Metohija, he said.
"Serbia believes that commitment to EU integration represents the main driving force for the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, with the expectation that the EU will continue to facilitate the dialogue," the minister said.
Dacic underlined once again the importance of strengthening UNMIK's presence and role for Serbia, notably for Serbs and other non-Albanian communities living in Kosovo and Metohija, voicing the expectation that UNMIK would continue to enforce its mandate under UNSC Resolution 1244.
Kosovo representative Vlora Citaku also spoke to express her "pride in the recent successes that Kosovo achieved, but also concern because they angered many Serbs."
Over the last several weeks, we have proved that we are on an irreversible path to becoming an equal member of the family of free countries in the world, she said in Monday's UN SC meeting, referring to Kosovo's membership in UEFA, FIFA and visa-free regime with the EU.
As for the Brussels dialogue, she said this was not a goal unto itself and underscored that Pristina would implement every agreement reached with Belgrade in Brussels, within the framework of its Constitution.
Dacic criticized Citaku for "constantly mentioning genocide in Kosovo in her addresses to the UN Security Council," noting that at that forum she has been constantly "giving political speeches that have nothing to do with reports about the situation in Kosovo for the past three months," which was the topic on the agenda.
Dacic also pointed to procedural violations as Citaku's speech was titled "the Republic of Kosovo," demanding that the matter be aligned with the UN regulations.
"Vlora Citaku speaks about a genocide and in whose judgment was it a genocide?" Dacic noted, and he asked the Security Council members to refrain from using such words, as it is not someone's opinion that matters, but the judgments passed.
He also noted that 200,000 Serbs had been driven out of Kosovo, and that barely two percent of them have returned to their homes.
Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and UNMIK Chief Zahir Tanin has said in Monday's Security Council meeting on Kosovo he has taken note of reconciliatory messages coming from Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo President Hasim Taci, adding that now it is time for a new momentum in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
At this moment, with the elections finished on both sides, it seems that the time has come for a new momentum in the dialogue. This has to be the main objective of the UN and EU in the coming months, Tanin said, adding that a peaceful transition of power would provide more room for energy to be devoted to core challenges.
UNMIK is no longer administering Kosovo, but it can act as a bridge between the UNSC and people in Kosovo and the region, he said.
As for the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo, Tanin said that the issue had often been misinterpreted, and cited the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini who had said that the Community was a step toward a stronger, not weaker Kosovo, and a more stable region.
The Security Council is discussing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's report on UNMIK for the period from January 16 to April 15, 2016.
In his latest report on the work of the UN mission in Kosovo and the situation there, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over the slow pace of implementation of agreements in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue over the past year.
"Much work remains to be done in Kosovo to promote greater tolerance and reconciliation among its communities, to ensure the protection of minority rights, to facilitate the return of the displaced, to uphold their property rights and to safeguard religious traditions without impediment or stigma," Ban wrote in the report.
"I am pleased to note the commitments expressed by the President and the Prime Minister (of Kosovo) to the process of normalizing relations between Belgrade and Pristina taking place under the auspices of the European Union, and to achieving the full implementation of the agreements already reached, in particular regarding the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo," he wrote.
"Nevertheless, I note with concern the slow pace of implementation during the past 12 months and hope that the positive steps already taken under European Union facilitation will be matched by energetic efforts to complete the remaining steps, and also to tackle further subjects in the near future," reads Ban's report, published on the UN website.