Serbian FM Vuk Jeremić addressed the UN Security Council session on Kosovo Tuesday saying that Resolution 1244 remains crucial for resolving the Kosovo issue.
“There is no perfect solution. But there must be an equitable one to which we can all agree-one that will enable us to move forward, and ensure the consolidation of the gains the region has made in the past decade. We shall keep working incessantly until a compromise on Kosovo is found,” he said.
The minister noted that a substantial majority of UN member States-and of those seated on the Security Council-have continued to respect Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We remain deeply committed to EU membership-this will continue to be our central strategic priority. Serbia believes its achievement is the surest way to complete the democratic transformation of the Balkans. We do not seek a confrontation with anybody. But equally, we have no doubts: we shall not give in and simply walk away,” Jeremić told the council.
“This is not about stubbornness, acrimony, revisionism, or wanting to be a nuisance. It is about the fact that we have no choice but to persevere in a peaceful and dignified manner, for Kosovo directly relates to the very essence of our identity.”
The Serbian minister stated that “zero-sum outcomes-where one side gets everything, while the other nothing – are intrinsically unstable”, and that it was inconceivable that UDI could become a basis for the normalization of relations between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
“Member states will have an opportunity to come together and make a critical contribution to global governance, by uniting around a clear and resolute message. Otherwise, the stage would be set for the establishment of a universally applicable precedent that provides a ready-made model for unilateral secession,” Jeremić said in his address.
“We will continue to use all diplomatic resources at the disposal of a sovereign state to oppose this attempt to forcibly change our borders in peacetime. No peaceful and proud nation facing such a threat-be it African, European, Asian or American; be it small or large, rich or poor-would act differently,” the minister said.
Jeremić repeated Belgrade’s stance that it will “under no circumstances recognize Kosovo’s UDI, implicitly or explicitly. This is our constitutional imperative, as well as a political and moral duty, conferred on us by the overwhelming democratic will of our citizens.”
The minister also expressed Serbia’s gratitude for the support and solidarity of those countries that have not recognized Kosovo, and urged them to maintain their principled position.
Commenting on the recent ICJ advisory opinion in the Kosovo case, Jeremić said that it opted to narrowly examine the language of the unilateral proclamation, and that “such a strictly technical approach enabled a conclusion that the declaration itself did not violate international law”.
“This has unfortunately left room for a dangerous misinterpretation of the court’s view as having legalized the ethnic Albanians’ attempt at unilateral secession. Moreover, the court neither endorsed the view that Kosovo’s UDI was a unique case, nor Priština’s claim that Kosovo is a state. Lastly, the court failed to approve the province’s avowed right of secession from Serbia, or any purported right to self-determination for Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians,” said Jeremić.
“The ICJ clearly reaffirmed that Kosovo remains subject to the interim administration of the United Nations, and that resolution 1244 (1999) and UNMIK’s Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government in Kosovo remain in force and continue to apply. It is therefore evident that the province is still a territory subject to an international regime mandated by the Security Council,” he said, and noted that “this could produce extensive and deeply problematic consequences for the international community”.
Jeremić also stated that Serbia had submitted its draft Kosovo resolution to the UN General Assembly, and that the forthcoming debate “will inevitably focus on the consequences and implications of Kosovo’s UDI, in light of the court’s findings”.
“The UN’s status neutrality-and that of all organizations that operate under its overall authority, such as EULEX and the OSCE-remains the framework within which all of us can work together to improve the lives of ordinary people in Kosovo-irrespective of their ethnicity,” the Serbian minister concluded.