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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2003 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

United Nations Mission in Kosovo Press Conference With Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) Harri Holkeri

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Pristina, Kosovo
November 5, 2003

SRSG HOLKERI: Ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure for me to welcome Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman to Pristina. I appreciate the strong expression of support for UNMIKís efforts that the Under Undersecretary made yesterday in Brussels. The Contact Group has embraced an idea that we have been discussing for some time: to set a date for assessing Kosovoís progress towards achieving the eight standards. All members of the UN Security Council, including, of course, the members represented in the Contact Group, four members, share the deep conviction that we need to maintain the momentum on Kosovoís progress on the basis of Resolution 1244. Setting a specific date for assessing progress should inject a needed note of urgency into all our efforts. Assessment of progress will be principally based on the reports UNMIK submits to the Secretary General and will be conducted under the responsibility of the Security Council. Participation means active, constructive contributions to solving the problems the working groups are meant to address. But a dialogue, is just one of eight benchmarks. Progress towards all eight will be based on the partnership of Kosovoís provisional institutions and UNMIK; a partnership that will be strengthened by the Kosovo standards implementation plan, or, as we have started to say, KSIP. The details of this plan are being worked out in close consultations with Kosovoís provisional institutions over the next few weeks. The KSIP will increase the clarity of Kosovoís map on the road ahead. The International Community is united in its position that such process cannot begin until Kosovo has made considerable progress on several outstanding issues. Including dialogue with Belgrade. Progress, in other words, depends on Kosovoís institutions and Iím looking forward to a very constructive partnership with them. Sir, the floor is yours.

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Thank you very much. First, let me thank the Secretary Generalís Special Representative, for the opportunity to visit with you today. I want to apologize for being late. I appreciate the fact that you all have waited for us. Before I do anything else, I would hope that, sir, you will allow me to just make some thank yous first. I want to thank our hosts here for the program that they have put together for me today. I also want to take the opportunity in front of all of you to thank Marcie Reis and the U.S. Mission here in Pristina. We thank you very much for the way you represent United States of America. I thank U.S. forces in KFOR and all the other international forces who provide such an important part of the security for this mission. And I thank the United Nations and the European Union for all of the efforts and other international organizations, like the OSCE. I want to thank also representatives of the Contact Group, who were nice enough to meet with the Secretary Generalís Special Representative and me, just before we came to this press conference. As the Representative said, I had yesterday the opportunity to go to Brussels and consult the North-Atlantic Council on a plan to accelerate progress in a very important area. And that is to accelerate the process of Euro-Atlantic integration of the Balkans, to bring this region into the vision that I know the Secretary Generalís Special Representative and I share, of a Europe whole, free and at peace. After ten years of work in this region, of effort by everyone represented here in Kosovo, weíve established the foundation of what I would call self-sustaining progress in the Balkans. There is surely much more to do but consider what has been achieved these years. We stopped the war in Bosnia. We prevented a humanitarian catastrophe here in Kosovo and we defused the conflict in Macedonia. We want to bring this part of Europe into Europe and we want this part of Europe to be connected to the great values that are represented by institutions like NATO and the European Union. And we also want to accomplish this so we can hasten the day when people in this area can truly run their own lives. The key, or one of the keys, to accomplishing this task is to get Kosovo right. The Secretary Generalís Special Representative and I have had a conversation in Washington and on the telephone over the weekend, and today, about how we can best support his efforts to accomplish this task. And we believe that the way to do this is to have a Contact Group agreed strategy that will take a step in the right direction. And that is to have a review-date strategy that will focus Kosovars on achieving standards. Mr. Holkeri talked about those standards. I think itís very important to list to them. First: functioning democratic institutions. Second, the rule of law. Third, freedom of movement for all - all communities. Fourth, safe return and reintegration of internally displaced persons and refugees. Fifth, the market economy. Sixth, property rights. Seven, dialogue with Belgrade. And eight, an appropriate size for the Kosovo Protection Corps, which includes minority representation. The Secretary Generalís Special Representative, I think, has got this exactly right when he says that this strategy is not a reward or a short cut. Itís a work plan. And these standards need to be clear and specific and measurable. What happens once thereís this work plan and people follow the SG Representativesí lead? The Contact Group, and I know that the Secretary Generalís Special Representative agrees, that there would then be the evaluation of Kosovoís progress toward these U.N. standards by mid 2005 and even earlier if progress is sufficient. If Kosovo meets these standards, we are prepared to begin a process to determine Kosovoís future status. If progress, however, is insufficient, we would all together set another review date, sometime else out in the future. And the Contact Group, and I know with the Secretary Generalís Special Representative, all of us, will meet regularly to assess progress and provide advice as needed. Itís very important, I believe, to recognize that we canít address Kosovoís future status until it meets the standards. And to keep the focus on standards, weíre not going to have a discussion of what kind of process comes after 2005 and what it will look like. We want to stay focused on the work plan and on the standards. Everybody here has a role to play in this endeavor. The Secretary Generalís Special Representative and UNMIK will provide a work plan, timetables, benchmarks, and what Kosovars need to do is then meet those standards. Sir, I thank you very much for the chance to be here, and I think the two of us will be glad to answer any questions anybody might have.

NEBIH QENA (AGENCE FRANCE PRESS): Sir, could you just specify some of the standards that should be met by Kosovo are, to some point, the responsibility of Belgrade as well. So if Belgrade is not cooperating in achieving these standards will Kosovo be held accountable?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN:: Well, I think at this point, what we want to do is support the Secretary Generalís Representativeís standards. And we hope that the incentive system that is being described today, the incentive system of people in this region moving toward Europe and Euro-Atlantic Institutions, will mean that everybody will participate in meeting standards and that we wonít find a time when weíre dividing them between these people and those people. Standards are there to be met. Theyíre there to be met by whomever has responsibility to meet them and we think that by supporting the Secretary Generalís Representative and by this review date, we can give everybody an incentive to get this job done.

ZORKA DJUKANOVIC (BBC SERBIAN SERVICE): Mr. Grossman, do you believe that it is possible that Kosovo realize standards until middle of 2005, for example, returning of refugees? Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN:: Well I certainly do. The Secretary Generalís Representative will write these standards. Heíll be clear about these standards. Theyíll be transparent standards and I think they will be fair standards because he is a fair man and weíre running a fair process here. I believe that those standards, once theyíre out there, will be clear to everyone, and they will be standards that can be met by mid-2005 if people are prepared to do so and I hope they will be.

SRSG: And from my part, I can only say that we are trying to be as transparent, as open as we can in this process. We need everybodyís help because there is an interest of everybody here in Kosovo and in Belgrade as well.

TINA KRAJA (ASSOCIATED PRESS): Is Kosovoís independence an option at the end of this process that you have envisaged?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: In our view, all the options are on the table. The United States has taken no position, one way or the other, about what the final status of Kosovo is about. And the reason we have not done so is that we want to keep focused on standards. So all options are on the table; but letís focus on getting the job done in support of the Secretary Generalís Representative. Thank you all very much.

Released on November 7, 2003

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