The statement was held on November 29th, and went as follows:
The Secretary General’s report to the Security Council clarifies the challenges facing the Kosovars as well as the international community in Kosovo. Norway supports the continued efforts outlined in the report to implement European standards in Kosovo. The report underscores the need for setting priorities in the Standards implementation process, as well as for a more systematic program of competence-building and transfer of responsibilities to local institutions. We fully support these recommendations. At the same time, Norway also fully concurs with the Secretary General’s recommendation that there be a greater degree of accountability on the part of Kosovo institutions. UNMIK must maintain effective oversight and mechanisms for remedial action, should that be necessary.
Stability in the Western Balkans is of continued importance for Europe as a whole. It is therefore important that the Kosovo issue be dealt with in a way that does not lead to renewed violence or regional destabilisation. While economic development is important for stability, so too is the need for a greater effort for inter-ethnic dialogue and reconciliation. Norway supports greater efforts to foster local initiatives for community-based inter-ethnic dialogue and reconciliation.
Serb participation in the political and administrative life in Kosovo is important if Kosovo is to be truly multi-ethnic. The Kosovo-Albanian political leadership should take the lead in supporting local community reconciliation. They should actively promote public policies, such as local administration reform, which both involve, empower, and benefit all communities. Such policies will also indirectly foster an environment of security.
It is vital that the legitimate interests of all communities in Kosovo be taken duly into account. First and foremost, all inhabitants must be ensured full respect for their human and civil rights. This includes security of both individuals and communities.
Norway commends the Kosovo Central Election Commission and its staff on the well-organised Assembly elections that were held on 23 October. The fact that the elections were conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner give rise to optimism.
However, we regret the very low turnout of Serb voters in these elections. We believe that this non-participation is detrimental to the best long-term interests of the Serbian community in Kosovo. Self-isolation will not bring any benefit, but only exacerbate the challenges facing all those who are committed to a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo.
We trust that the new cabinet, when it has been constituted, will work together with UNMIK, the OSCE, The Council of Europe and others, to implement European standards and Security Council Resolution 1244 in Kosovo. We take it for granted that the new government will be a government for all inhabitants, whatever their ethnic background.
Democracy and multi-ethnicity cannot be achieved until all communities in Kosovo feel that their rights, aspirations and concerns are fully respected and adequately addressed by their neighbours and Kosovo institutions. Kosovo continues to suffer from a deficit of mutual trust and respect between communities. This is perhaps the predominant challenge facing Kosovo today.
Authorities and political leaders in Kosovo must publically demonstrate their commitment to the security of all inhabitants of Kosovo, irrespective of nationality. Sustainable security for all communities in Kosovo is first and foremost the responsibility of Kosovar political leaders. The international community can help, but respect for the inalienable right to security can only derive from a more widespread mentality of respect and tolerance among the inhabitants of Kosovo.
In this regard, it is important to once again emphasize the responsibility of all political leaders, elected officials, and civil servants at both municipal and Kosovo-wide levels. The Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) must ensure that the human and civilian rights and legitimate interests of all communities are taken seriously and addressed in a manner compatible with European standards.
Preparations must commence for a discussion on Kosovo’s future status. As Ambassador Eide has pointed out, there will never be an ideal time for discussions on status. Discussions will be difficult. It will be vital to include Belgrade in this process. Discussions must also to the fullest extent possible safeguard the human, minority and civil rights for all inhabitants of Kosovo.
Norway will continue its support for the SRSG’s agenda for development and stability in Kosovo.