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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of International Organization Affairs > Reports to Congress, U.S. Votes, Fact Sheets, Testimony > Other Remarks > 2003

A Stable Future for Kosovo

James Cunningham, Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Statement in the Security Council
New York, New York
June 10, 2003

Released by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Thank you, Mr. President, and thanks to Mr. Annabi [Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations] for his excellent and comprehensive update. I’m glad that he reminded me us that this is the fourth anniversary of Resolution 1244. His overview shows clearly that a lot has been accomplished in those four years but also clearly a lot more remains to be done and that there are problems ahead. And with one of those problems – it pains me to begin my intervention on Kosovo with again a condemnation of violence as we had to do in April when we condemned the attack by the so-called Albanian National Army on a railway bridge. Now we have a violent murder that others have already referred to in Obilic and the killing appears to have been motivated by the early success of the Serb return program there and thus needs particularly to be condemned because it goes to the heart of what the international community and the Kosovars are trying to accomplish. We support the measures taken by the Special Representative to bring the perpetrators to justice and encourage close collaboration between all involved to ensure appropriate security in Kosovo.

I also want to note that President Bush signed an Executive Order on May 28 revoking the national emergencies declared in the 1992 and 1998 Executive Orders with respect to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and, with this new order, taking additional steps with respect to persons who obstruct implementation of the Dayton Accords, the Ohrid Framework Agreement or Security Council Resolution 1244. This puts in place additional national measures on our part to combat extremism in the region.

We can’t, however, allow violence by a small minority to undermine what has been achieved and what is still to be achieved in Kosovo. Progress has been made on a number of fronts – on the transfer of non-reserved competencies to the provisional self-government, in strengthening UNMIK’s [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] presence in Mitrovica, and on needed economic reforms.

We are pleased to hear that an expert from UNDP [UN Development Program] has arrived to begin work on UNMIK’s plan for implementing the benchmarks. As we promised, my government has taken steps to provide funding for an expert to assist in this effort. We continue to believe that the implementation plan is a critical step in reinforcing the benchmarks process and that “standards before status” must be more then just a slogan. More progress must be made on practical issues if we are to overcome the suspicion and build the trust and reconciliation that will be required for 1244 to be implemented fully.

On the economic front, we believe the privatization process must move forward without further delay. The promulgation of the land-use regulation was the last step needed to allow the first tenders to be offered under UNMIK’s privatization plan for some 350 socially owned enterprises. Privatization is the best hope of generating economic activity in Kosovo. Regardless of future decisions on its final status, Kosovo must not be left without economic means. It is important that property rights are both clearly established and enforced uniformly for each owner or claimant.

We note the Special Chamber for adjudicating owners’ and creditors’ claims. The Chamber will provide a fair and transparent venue for dispute resolution with Serbian companies or others, and as long as it does not delay the on-going privatization process, work should begin immediately to set up a claims register that accepts submissions in Serbia in order to protect the rights of claimants there and provide full information to potential buyers.

In order for us to be able to target and address such issues as soon as possible, the U.S. Government strongly urges the UNMIK, the Provisional Institutions of Self Government, and the Government of Serbia and Montenegro to foster a constructive dialogue. We know that this is difficult, but it is the only way to resolve the issues that remain before us and the only way to create a stable future.

My government is looking for ways to promote that dialogue in a variety of ways and in a variety of fora. We will continue our efforts in the months ahead to help build trust and encourage the relationships needed to make Kosovo work. Thank you, Mr. President.

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