On 16 September 2010 at the Caglavica/Cagllavicë Media Center, the ICO spokesman made the following comments about a future Prishtine/Pristina – Belgrade dialogue.
“The International Civilian Office also believes that the Resolution of the United Nations should be welcomed. It is a real opportunity for the region. This Resolution has the support of the European Union at 27, of Serbia and of Kosovo in equal measure that is all very important. I very much agree with the Speaker [of the Kosovo Assembly] that the fact that we have a united European Union line on this Resolution, that we have unity in the EU is very significant. I think that means, from the international perspective we have a good common basis for everybody to look to the future and to focus now on the practical issues that matter.
“This Resolution should open a new phase a new phase in which promoting cooperation and improving people’s lives should be the central aim. In that context it is a new phase in which behavior intended to destabilize or to provoke will simply not work. If you like, there is a new agenda from this Resolution for Kosovo-Serbia relations.
“The International Civilian Office and the International Steering Group who support us are very pleased that the European Union is taking the facilitating role in future dialogue that is started by this Resolution. This facilitation role of the European Union obviously makes sense because of the European perspective of Kosovo and Serbia. But it is also important to note that this facilitation role means that the agenda and the progress made will ultimately be in the hands of the parties, in the hands of Kosovo and Serbia. The European Union will set the meeting if you like, will assist the parties, but the responsibility will be very much one owned locally. Strong local ownership will be important to success.
“Obviously it’s for the European Union to comment on details and timescales but I think we should be realistic about timing we are only few working days away from adoption of the Resolution itself and so I am sure the European Union would make announcements and information available in due course.
“Speaking for an organization that supports the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo I can certainly say that we are satisfied that the Resolution and the dialogue it calls for does not put status back on the table; it does not put the status of the Republic of Kosovo back on the table for discussion and the view of the International Steering Group is well known to all of you, that the independence of Kosovo is irreversible.
“We also remain convinced that the Comprehensive Status Proposal and its provisions remain the best prospect for a democratic multiethnic Kosovo contributing to regional stability. In these months and years ahead Kosovo will continue to enjoy the support of its international friends, in particular the International Steering Group countries.
“And perhaps for us one of the things that we believe this new phase can bring about is a reduction in the focus on red lines. What people won’t do, I think, what the parties don’t want to see discussed is very well known now, but rather there should be a focus on what Kosovo and Serbia do want to see discussed, there are a long list of issues whether that is trade, whether it is work in regional organizations that can be dealt with through this framework and therefore we urge Serbia and Kosovo to take this important regional opportunity.”
Shkelzen Osmani from ALSAT TV:
“Some people in the Balkans have foreseen that the talks will fails from the beginning, this having in mind the stand of both parties. Serbia insists on talking about the status and for the issue of north and on the other hand Kosovo party considers these issues as closed issues. Is it possible that these talks will not function?”
“I am an optimist and I think it’s important that the parties, Kosovo and Serbia, and their citizens are optimists in this process. My reason for being optimistic is that there has been unity around this Resolution in particular that the European Union has spoken at 27 with one voice and has made clear that it wants to see a dialogue that promotes cooperation and improves people’s lives. I think that is a powerful incentive and that is why I said earlier that I think that any behaviour or approach aimed at failure in this new phase is not acceptable.”
To read the transcript of the full debate, click here: http://www.medijacentar.info/en/mc-debates/reports/301-resolution-of-general-assembly-of-united-nations-a-challenge-for-kosovo-16-09-2010
International Civilian Representative
28 February 2008 – 10 September 2012