Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovo Ambassador to the USVlora Citaku have faced off at a UN Security Council session on Kosovo. Their statements focused on the European Union facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, the status of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and the status of Kosovo – Dacic arguing that it is a region of Serbia and Citaku that the Kosovo is a free, independent country. Citaku also emphasized the need for the Kosovo army.

“Ivicia Dacic, Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the fact that 200,000 internally displaced persons forced to flee Kosovo and Metohija still lived in Serbia after 18 years was a powerful argument that UNMIK’s scope must not be changed.  The report should have given due attention, in a separate section, to violations of human rights and freedoms among returnees to the south of Kosovo and Metohija, he said, adding that UNMIK must create optimal conditions for returnees, including the restitution of property rights.  Emphasizing the importance of preserving Serb cultural, historical and religious heritage in Kosovo and Metohija, he said the rule of law must be protected, arguing that, with legal frameworks now in place, he expected that those who had committed crimes against Serbs would be indicted and tried.

Serbia was firmly committed to dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, facilitated by the European Union, he said, adding that his country had demonstrated great resolve to find compromise solutions.  Regrettably, the other side had not reciprocated Serbia’s efforts.  Underlining that his Government disapproved of Kosovo’s move to establish the Kosovo armed force, as did the international community, he said that initiative risked destabilizing the regional security situation.  He pointed out that a large number of countries, including some that had recognized Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence, had denounced its efforts to apply for membership in international organizations.  Serbia thanked those States that did not recognize Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, he added.

Vlora Citaku of Kosovo noted that every three months, the Council’s valuable time was taken up by theatre staged purely for domestic consumption, suggesting that Kosovo’s status somehow had not been settled.  Kosovo was free and independent, she asserted, adding that it was fair to ask for redefinition of UNMIK’s mandate to match reality on the ground.  The Council maintained a mission that reinvented its mandate without any real need, she said, emphasizing that what should be discussed was the Mission’s downsizing and withdrawal.

She went on to say that quite soon, Kosovo, in coordination with its partners, would gain its place in all relevant international bodies.  The Kosovo army was a modern, defensive force reflecting Kosovo’s desire to join the Euro‑Atlantic family.  She reaffirmed that Kosovo remained strongly committed to dialogue with Serbia, and that, in accordance with its constitution, it would implement all agreements reached in Brussels.” A full recap of full UN Security Council statements can be read on the UN Press.