UNMIK Chief Lamberto Zannier called for pragmatism at Thursday’s UN Security Council meeting on Kosovo.
Zannier, who presented the UN secretary general’s report at the meeting, stated that greater participation by Serbs and other minorities in the local institutions could be useful and that it would increase the chances of a bigger return of displaced persons.
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić reiterated that Serbia would never recognize Kosovo’s independence.
He said in his address before the Security Council that living conditions in Kosovo for the Serb population were still difficult and that there had been a very small number of returnees. He called on international organizations to put a stop to the destruction of Serbian cultural heritage in the region.
Jeremić thanked the majority of UN members, who respect Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and have not recognized Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence.
“The solidarity we are getting from around the planet encourages us to remain steadfast in our efforts to find a solution for Kosovo’s future status in a peaceful way, which will be acceptable for all sides,” Jeremić said.
“Our fundamental stance on the future status of our province remains the same. Serbia will never recognize the unilateral declaration of Kosovo independence. That’s our political, moral and legal obligation. That is our democratic duty, because our nation is united around this fundamental issue,” he said.
The minister said that the Kosovo case was an important test for the international community, because a choice must be made between unilateralism and consensus.
“A unilateral declaration of independence is a challenge which we must overcome together, for the good of peace and stability, and in the name of international law,” he said.
Zannier said in his report that UNMIK had formed a working group to deal with the return of Serbs, Roma, Egyptians and all other people who left their homes after the conflict, calling on all sides to show “practicality and pragmatism.”
“Greater involvement of Serbs and other minorities in the local institutions could be of great help and increase the possibility of the return of all displaced persons,” Zannier said.
“We in UNMIK are ready to cooperate with Belgrade and Priština regarding all open issues, but Belgrade and Priština must cooperate with us as well,” he stressed.
Jeremić called on UN member-states to refrain from imposing any pressure on the debate on the legality of Kosovo’s unilateral independence—scheduled to begin before the International Court of Justice in December—discouraging any new recognitions of Kosovo’s independence before that time.