Statement by Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Meeting Called by Serbia on Kosovo

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February 8, 2024

Madam President,

I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for her briefing. I welcome the presence among us of the President of Serbia, Mr Vučić, and the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Mr Kurti.

Madam President,

France recalls the need to stabilize the situation on the ground and to work towards normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo, which is a central element for European rapprochement for both countries. Both parties must abstain from any unilateral action which might increase tensions.

On this point, France and the European Union have expressed their serious concern about Kosovo’s recent actions on currency and the operations of the Kosovar police, leading to the closure of Serbian structures in the south and east of Kosovo. These decisions will have negative consequences on the daily life of the Serbian community in Kosovo, particularly in terms of access to social services. France calls for the immediate suspension of the decision by the Central Bank of Kosovo to allow for a sufficient transition period. The statement made yesterday by Mr. Kurti, acknowledging the need for a transition period, is a positive first step. It must now be followed by action. France also recalls that the status of Serb parallel structures must be resolved exclusively through the establishment of the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities. This is long overdue.

France condemns the attack on Banjska on September 24, and calls for the circumstances surrounding it to be fully clarified, and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

Madam President,

France supports the perspective of European integration for Serbia and Kosovo. No one can deny the sovereign will of both countries to favour the European choice. There is no alternative, either for Serbia or for Kosovo, but to reach an agreement that will bring a lasting settlement to their dispute. And it is within the framework of the dialogue facilitated by the European Union that the problems must be resolved. We recall that the European Union was entrusted with a mandate to this effect by the United Nations General Assembly.

France welcomes the efforts of European mediation, which led to the so-called “Brussels-Ohrid” agreement in early 2023, the most ambitious agreement to date between the two countries. This is a major success, which we must ensure is properly implemented.

France welcomes the progress made within the framework of the dialogue facilitated by the European Union, in particular on the mutual recognition of license plates, on the issue of energy and on the holding of new municipal elections in northern Kosovo, with the participation of Serbs.

We welcome the commitment of the Serbian authorities to dialogue, which has enabled significant progress to be made. Serbia must continue to make clear progress on implementing its obligations under the Brussels-Ohrid agreement and its annex.

Madam President,

France welcomes the role played by UNMIK and KFOR. Attacks against the latter, such as those which occurred last May, are unacceptable.

France will continue to support European Union mediation with a view to reaching a comprehensive, definitive and legally binding agreement.

Finally, we call on the Serbian and Kosovar leaders to respect their commitments and shoulder their responsibilities.

I thank you.

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