Statement by H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh,
Permanent Representative of Viet Nam, at the Security Council Private Debate on the Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
16 January 2008
At the outset, let me thank Mr. Joachim Rücker, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his briefing and his introduction of the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), contained in document S/2007/768 which is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).
My Delegation is pleased with the overall political and security situation in Kosovo, where we have seen relative stability with the decrease in violence as compared with the previous reporting periods, especially with 2004 when we witnessed widespread turmoil.
With regard to the political situation, my Delegation takes note of some positive developments during the reporting period, among them the elections for the Assembly of Kosovo, 30 Municipal Assemblies and for the new position of Mayor for each of the 30 Municipalities organized under UNMIK’s authority without incident as reflected in the report. However, we are concerned by the fact that turnout was low, which may affect our ability to determine if the results manifest adequately the aspirations of the population. In this connection, we commend UNMIK for the measures it has taken to ensure equitable representation for all communities, which we consider important for the implementation of the election results.
Concerning the security situation, we are pleased by the report that the overall security situation remained calm with no major incident. What continue to concern us are inter-ethnic clashes and, especially, the activities of extremist groups calling for violence.
In the economic field, while noting progress in a number of domains such as the budget and tax compliance processes, participation in sub-regional economic and trade mechanisms and the continued assistance and support of international financial institutions and major donors, such as the World Bank, the IMF and the European Commission, we acknowledge many difficulties facing the people of Kosovo such as high rates of unemployment and potential elements of uncertainty.
Our major concern is for the fact that the number of minority returns to Kosovo remains disappointingly low. The most recent UNHCR data shows that 207,000 IDPs still do not feel safe returning to their homes. In this connection, we urge UNMIK to expeditiously create a comprehensive repatriation-related policy and operational framework in order to assure safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo. This must be seen as one of the major steps to bring about lasting peace, stability and social harmony in Kosovo.
Sharing many of the observations of the Secretary- General put forth in the report, we highly appreciate his efforts and join him in commending those of the Troika consisting of the United States, Russia and the EU to promote dialogue between parties concerned to find a solution to the issue of Kosovo. Proceeding from our fundamental policy of supporting solution of conflicts and disputes through peaceful dialogue and negotiations and our perception that any solution of the Kosovo issue will affect not only peace and stability in the Balkan, in Europe and the world, and our position that any such solution must be based on the fundamental principles of international law, the UN Charter, among them the principles of respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and in conformity with relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including resolution 1244, we call upon the parties concerned to exercise restraints and resume dialogue and negotiations with a view to finding such a solution. The Security Council and UNMIK should continue to assist the two sides in this direction. In the final analysis, Mr. President, the question is not only whether the journey we have to take is shorter or longer, but also if the solution we find at the end of it is less or more lasting. The people of Kosovo need, we all prefer and should continue to strive together for a lasting one.
I thank you, Mr. President!