|Date||23 June 2000|
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Briefing by Mr. Carl Bildt, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Shen Guofang
|Mr. van Walsum
|Mr. Ben Mustapha
|Sir Jeremy Greenstock
Adoption of the agenda
Briefing by Mr. Carl Bildt, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Iraq, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey, requesting to be invited to participate in the debate on the item on the Council's agenda under rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council.
The Council is also called upon to decide on the invitation to Mr. Carl Bildt, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans, and on the request, transmitted by the Permanent Representative of Portugal, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, to authorize Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General of that Council and High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, to participate in the meeting under rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council, document S/2000/615.
Finally, I have received a letter from Mr. Jovanovi in which he requests to be invited to participate in the debate on the agenda item. No reference is made to either rule 37 or rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council in this request.
Prior consultations with the members of the Council have not made it possible to reach an understanding on how to respond to these requests. I therefore propose that the Council decide successively, first on the requests for participation under rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure, next on those referring to rule 39 and, finally, on Mr. Jovanovi's request, which refers to neither rule 37 nor rule 39.
I shall thus proceed in three stages. During the first stage, I shall ask if there are any objections to giving a favourable response to the requests referring to rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure -- namely, those submitted by the representatives of Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Slovenia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.
During the second stage, I shall ask if there are any objections to inviting Mr. Carl Bildt and Mr. Javier Solana to participate in the debate on the agenda item under rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council.
During the third stage, I shall ask if there are any objections to giving a positive response to Mr. Jovanovi's request, which refers to neither rule 37 nor rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council.
If there is an objection to any of the requests to be invited to participate, I shall submit the request to a vote of the members of the Council.
May I take it that the Council agrees to proceed in this manner?
You will recall, Mr. President, that when we discussed this matter yesterday in the consultations, I proposed that we take a positive view of all requests that we have received for participation in today's meeting. That was the first proposal, and I would be grateful if we could take a decision on it.
I note that the procedure I have proposed to follow is not acceptable to the delegation of the Russian Federation.
I have proposed that the Council should not take a decision, whether positive or negative, on all the requests as a whole.
Bearing in mind that disagreements arose during the prior consultations on one of the requests, I have proposed that the Council should decide, successively and separately, on the requests under rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council, next on those referring to rule 39 and, finally, on Mr. Jovanovi's request.
The delegation of the Russian Federation has proposed another method, which consists of taking a single decision on all the requests, considered as a whole. Under this method, the Council would be called upon either to accept all the requests or to reject all of them.
In the present circumstances, I feel it is necessary to put the proposal of the Russian Federation to the vote.
I therefore request the Council to determine whether it wishes, as proposed by the Russian Federation, to take a single decision on all the requests, considered as a whole, which would mean that the Council would either accept all the requests or reject them all. If the Russian Federation's proposal does not receive the required number of votes, I will follow the procedure that I myself have proposed.
If no member wishes to take the floor, I shall take it that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the proposal of the Russian Federation.
favour=4 against=10 abstain=1 absent=0
Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali, Namibia, Netherlands, Russia, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States
The result of the voting is as follows: 4 in favour, 10 against and 1 abstention. The proposal of the Russian Federation has not been adopted because it has failed to obtain the required number of votes.
As I announced before the voting, I shall now invite the Council to consider successively the requests under rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council, next those referring to rule 39 and, finally, that of Mr. Jovanovi.
First, do I hear any objection to giving a positive response to the requests to be invited to participate submitted by the representatives of Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Slovenia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey under rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council?
There being no objection, I invite the representatives of Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Slovenia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey to take the seats reserved for them at the side of the Council chamber.
Secondly, do I hear any objection to extending an invitation to Mr. Carl Bildt and Mr. Javier Solana under rule 39 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure?
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I invite Mr. Carl Bildt to take a seat at the Council table.
I now invite Mr. Javier Solana to take the seat reserved for him at the side of the Council Chamber.
Do I hear any objection to our giving a favourable response to the request for participation submitted by Mr. Jovanovi?
My delegation must object to the proposal to allow Mr. Jovanovi, or anyone else purporting to represent his Government, to address the Council. We would like to request a vote on this invitation.
He represents a Government whose senior leadership has been indicted for war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law. The Tribunal that indicted their leaders was established by the Council itself, with the full support and participation of every member of the Council -- including those supporting his participation today. Allowing any representative of that leadership to participate in this or any other meeting of the Council flouts the indictments, undermines the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and sets us on a dangerous moral and legal course that sends the wrong message to the world about what this great body is doing here today and eliminates and undermines the seriousness of this gathering, at which I am particularly grateful to see Mr. Bildt, Mr. Solana and other major representatives of the world community.
There is no room in this debate for a representative of this regime, which continues its repressive tactics at home and its policies of nationalist extremism abroad and which helped fuel four Balkan wars over the last decade. It would be inappropriate to allow a representative of that Government to use the Council, in a discussion about where we stand on Kosovo and Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), to support the very policies that forced the United Nations to intervene.
We recommend that the Council state clearly and unequivocally that it rejects the policies of hatred and war espoused by the Belgrade regime; that it does not tolerate abuses of human rights; and that it fully supports the efforts of the International war crime Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to prosecute all -- I repeat, all -- those who have been indicted.
For this reason, my delegation requests that the proposed invitation be put to the vote. Of course, our country will vote no.
Since the beginning of this year, we have witnessed quite a number of important new developments in the Council's working methods and procedures, the most important of which is the tendency towards the increased participation of non-members of the Council in the discussions of this body. Let me recall one of the latest events in support of this assertion: the meetings of the Council with the participation of the members of the Political Committee of the Lusaka Agreement, held on 15 and 16 June. I would like to emphasize that this was the first time in the history of the United Nations that the Security Council had at its table representatives of rebel movements, who participated in the Council's discussions.
As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Ukraine attaches particular significance to this important tendency. I am deeply convinced that the Security Council as a whole derives considerable benefits from this tendency, which enhances its actual influence on the situation on the ground. In this regard, my delegation sees an inconsistency between this tendency and the request for a vote on the participation in the Council's meeting of the representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
First of all, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia remains a participant in the peace process in the Balkans. It is a signatory to the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement. It is a host country of the international presence in Kosovo. It is a party to the settlement of the Prevlaka dispute. We believe this provides sufficient grounds to allow this country to participate in the discussion of the Security Council on the situation in the Balkans as a whole.
Furthermore, I must recall the important provisions of Article 32 of the Charter of the United Nations, under which any State that is a party to a dispute under consideration by the Security Council has to be invited to participate in the discussion relating to the dispute. It is impossible to deny that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia de facto remains a party to every track of the peace process in the Balkans.
Since September 1992, the Security Council has adopted a special form of invitation when faced with a request for participation from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. According to that formula, the President of the Council -- in response to a written request from the representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- invites that representative by name to address the Council in the course of the discussion of the item before it. At the current stage, we do not see any grounds to abandon this practice, which has been in existence for nearly eight years.
These are the reasons why my delegation will vote in favour of the participation of Mr. Jovanovi in today's open meeting of the Security Council.
Finally, I would like to place on the record that this position of Ukraine is without any prejudice to the status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
If no other member of the Council wishes to speak before the voting, I shall take it that the Council is now prepared to vote on the request submitted by Mr. Jovanovi.
favour=4 against=7 abstain=4 absent=0
Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali, Namibia, Netherlands, Russia, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States
The result of the voting is as follows: 4 in favour, 7 against and 4 abstentions.
The request made by Mr. Jovanovi has not been approved because it failed to obtain the required number of votes.
I shall now call on those members of the Council who wish to make statements following the voting.
The Chinese delegation expresses its deep regret with regard to the decision just made by the Security Council. The Chinese delegation is of the view that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is an important country of the Balkan region. It is also a State that is directly concerned and a party to the Dayton Agreement. It does not matter whether or not we agree with the policy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; excluding the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from the Security Council and not allowing it to speak will not contribute to resolving the Balkan problem.
The Security Council should not deprive a sovereign State of its right to state its position when it wants to do so. This kind of action runs counter to the spirit of the United Nations Charter. Therefore, we would like again to express our deep regret with regard to the decision just made by the Security Council.
Argentina's abstention is based on my delegation's serious doubts regarding the underlying reasons for denying participation in this debate to Mr. Jovanovi, particularly bearing in mind previous instances in the Council in recent months especially during the month of December.
I wish to fully clarify that this vote in no way implies support for, endorsement of or sympathy for the Belgrade regime, in respect of which my delegation agrees with everything, or nearly everything, just said by the Permanent Representative of the United States.
I will now make a statement in my capacity as Permanent Representative of France.
France voted against the request presented by Mr. Jovanovi, to participate in this Security Council meeting. We believe that Mr. Jovanovi's participation in this meeting is inappropriate. We do not dispute the general principle of Mr. Jovanovi's having an opportunity to participate in a Security Council meeting. This vote is unrelated and has no effect on the status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the United Nations, which is a matter of substance governed by the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.
I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.
It is with great regret that I assess what has just happened in the Council -- the direct application of the policy of certain countries to exclude the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from participation not only in today's meeting, but generally, in the settlement process for the Balkans. This goes against the letter and the spirit of the United Nations Charter and its purposes and principles, and hinders the Security Council and the international community in the performance of their tasks.
It is awkward for me even to recall in this Chamber that, according to Article 31 of the United Nations Charter, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has the right to participate in this discussion on an equal footing with other United Nations Member States that have made such requests. It is embarrassing for me to have to note that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is a country whose interests are directly affected by the item under discussion in today's meeting. If this is not sufficient reason for anyone here, members can recall that, according to Article 32 of the Charter, even a State that is not a Member of the United Nations has the right to participate in the discussion by the Security Council of a situation in which that country is involved as a party.
To discuss the Balkan problem without the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is nonsense. We are concerned with the fact that the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia continues to be used as a political instrument, which was recently demonstrated once again when the Prosecutor of the Tribunal, Ms. Carla Del Ponte, refused to consider the flagrant use of force and violations of international humanitarian law by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Russia cannot support this destructive attempt to isolate the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, both from the standpoint of a political settlement in the Balkans and of the damage such attempts do to the United Nations as a universal Organization.
A very dangerous precedent is thus being created when States that are unpalatable for political reasons are excluded from participation in the work of the United Nations. Gagging people's mouths is not the best way to discuss acute international problems. Even a defendant has the right to defend his or her position.
The Security Council meeting on the Balkans, without the full participation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, loses its practical meaning, since one of the key parties is being eliminated from the discussion of the problem of a settlement, which could have a real impact on the development of events in that region.
If there is no objection, the Permanent Representative of Portugal and Mr. Solana will speak immediately after Mr. Bildt and before the members of the Council.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
The Security Council will now consider the item on its agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
At this meeting, the Security Council will hear a statement by Mr. Carl Bildt, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans. I now call on Mr. Bildt.
Let me start by expressing my appreciation for this opportunity to come back to the Council on the important issue of the search for self-sustaining stability in the Balkans. Let me also express my appreciation for the opportunity to do this when the High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Javier Solana, will also be addressing the Council on these same issues. In very many ways, the efforts of the United Nations and the European Union in that region are complementary, and this discussion here today demonstrates this.
The search for self-sustaining stability in that part of Europe is certainly not a new one. When I spoke in this Chamber in late February, I noted the high priority that has been given to this by the international community ever since the start of the dissolution of the old Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. I also then noted that we are far from the goals that we have set. Looking only at the United Nations, we now have no fewer than three peacekeeping operations in the area. There have previously been four other large United Nations missions. The wider international community has approximately a quarter of a million young men and women in uniform either serving in peace operations, just having come out of such operations or actively preparing to go into them. And we know that if these troops were to be withdrawn today there would, in all probability, be war tomorrow.
This is the reality of the situation in the region today. Self-sustaining stability can be achieved only when a firm political framework has been established for the region as a whole. This will be the case only when the different national and other communities in the area have accepted such a political framework and when it has also been fully recognized by the international community at the end of the day under the auspices of this Council.
Historical experience shows that when such a firm framework is in place the peoples and the nations of the region can live peacefully together in the same way as in other parts of Europe or, indeed, the world. But historical experience equally shows that whenever the political framework of the region is, or is seen as, unclear, fragile or open, there tends to develop a cycle of fears on the one hand and expectations on the other, often driven by extremists, nearly always resulting in conflict, in war and in massive violations of human rights.
This was the case during the slow collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Again it was the case during the inter-ethnic and national carnage in the area during the Second World War and, once again, this has been the case over and over again since the early 1990s.
Today, most of our attention is focussed on Bosnia, where we are making slow but steady progress with the implementation of the 1995 Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement, and Kosovo, where the United Nations, in the absence of a proper peace agreement, is engaged in one of its most demanding and difficult missions ever.
But the region is larger than this. It can be argued the Bosnia and Kosovo are just the most acute fracture zones where the different national agendas of the regions most clearly meet. I am stressing this in order to underline that we will never succeed in either Kosovo or Bosnia if we fail in the wider region south of Slovenia and north of Greece.
Stability in Kosovo and in Bosnia is obviously vital for the region. Such stability is hardly achievable in the long run if there is not a stable structure for the region as a whole -- and I would add, without a firm place for the region in the wider process and the wider structures of European integration. Only thus will a self-sustaining stability be possible.
In Kosovo, the Council has been recently informed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Kouchner, of the efforts under way to move towards the setting up of structures of self-government and substantial autonomy. I consider this to be of critical importance for wider stability in the region also. But these efforts are undertaken -- let us be clear on this -- in a climate that is far from satisfactory in a number of respects.
There is a climate of terror against minorities in Kosovo, primarily the Serb one, and this is repulsive. There is still far more of the rule of thugs than the rule of law. Although the local Kosovo Albanian leadership has condemned acts of violence, there is still a climate of tolerance of terror that we must never accept.
This can never be an argument for giving up or postponing our efforts to develop the structures of self-government and autonomy. On the contrary, in the long run -- and it might indeed be a long one -- there is no other way. The elected representatives of Kosovo will soon learn that neither Europe nor the rest of the international community will accept a political system that does not clearly address issues of human rights and the protection of minorities.
In Bosnia, the international efforts are now focused on the three priorities of the High Representative: accelerated minority returns, functioning common institutions and the necessity of economic reforms. Let me also note the particular importance of the latter.
For far too long, far too little has been done in Bosnia in this respect. We are now faced with an aid-dependent economy in a situation where aid is starting to decline, with the result that a severe economic and social crisis might be unavoidable. This will threaten the future of the country.
We will press on with minority returns. But in the absence of a functioning economy there is a risk that Bosnia could become a country where the old return to end their days where they were born, but the young leave because they do not see prospects for the future. The elected leaders of Bosnia must take action on this.
If we broaden our horizon from Kosovo and Bosnia, I believe that the most pressing issue in the region is the question of the future of the present Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. We cannot have self-sustaining stability in the region if we do not have self-sustaining stability in its different parts. In this respect, the situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia gives cause for concern. In my opinion, the present structures of the present Yugoslavia are unsustainable.
This is primarily due to the acute constitutional crisis between the Republic of Montenegro and the Federal authorities in Belgrade, where the federal institutions of Yugoslavia have been grossly misused in order also to exclude the representatives of the elected authorities of Montenegro. They are today on a slow but steady course towards a collision. This might not be imminent, but the trends are very clearly there. I believe that it is of key importance that we all give support to the elected authorities in Montenegro in their efforts to pave the way for the new deal which they are seeking.
Added to this acute constitutional crisis, there is, of course, also the unresolved issue of the future status of Kosovo. Although on paper still an integral part of the Republic of Serbia, the reality is different. I fail to see any circumstances under which a peace agreement will not have to include a clear constitutional separation between the two.
Thus, we have a situation where the present structures of the present Yugoslavia are unsustainable. If we do not recognize this and try to pave the way for sustainable solutions, there is an obvious risk of further conflict and disintegration with potentially grave consequences for the region as a whole.
When I go around the region, I note that most of its leaders see the continued territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as important both for wider regional stability and for the internal stability of the different countries. They are alarmed by the present situation in Yugoslavia, but they do not favour a further disintegration of the region.
We are undoubtedly handicapped in our search for peace by the fact that key persons in key public positions in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are refusing to respect indictments that have been issued by the International Tribunal, thus creating a situation where we cannot deal with them.
This situation is dangerous primarily for the Federal Republic itself, but also, of course, for the wider region. I believe it is important to recall that in the Dayton Peace Agreement, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia subscribed to the position that persons indicted by the Tribunal and not cooperating with it cannot hold public office.
What we are demanding of them today is thus no more than what they themselves have previously agreed to demand of others as part of the search for peace in the region. And the sooner the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its entire political system see the logic of this, the sooner we can all work together to create self-sustaining structures -- within its borders as well -- as part of the search for self-sustaining stability in the region as a whole.
We cannot wait too long. We know from bitter experience that as long as there is a feeling that arrangements are not final and that core issues remain open, tensions are likely to persist and there will be the ever-present risk that the forces of nationalism, of revanchism and of revolt will surface again with devastating consequences. That is the situation we are in today.
There are certainly positive as well as negative trends in the region. We are trying to strengthen the former -- and let me note the positive political changes in Croatia -- and to dampen the latter: let me note the rise of organized crime in large parts of the region. But as long as the core issues of the core conflicts are open, the danger of the forces of disintegration driving the region into new conflict will always be there.
And there are numerous open political issues apart from those connected with the unsustainability of the present Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The issue of the Prevlaka peninsula is small but significant. The succession negotiations have been ongoing for nearly 10 years without any result whatsoever. And there are issues connected with the establishment of full, normal relations among all States in the region that have not yet been solved.
I see all of these issues coming together at some point in time in a comprehensive regional settlement of the outstanding political issues. Such a settlement will not only pave the way for the full and speedy reintegration of a Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the region; it will also be even more important for the entry of the region into the process of integration with the rest of Europe and with the international community. Such a comprehensive political settlement will not be possible if we do not have a consensus in the international community, reflected in the Security Council, on what we are trying to assist the region to achieve. And it will not be possible if there is not a recognition that a true deal for true peace must meet the minimum demands of everyone but is unlikely to meet the maximum demands of anyone.
The dialogue with, and within, the Council is thus an essential part of creating that consensus that will make us ready to move towards a comprehensive political settlement when the conditions for it are in place.
This is a year of important elections in the region. The Croatian parliamentary and presidential elections are behind us; so are the Bosnian local elections and the local elections in part of Montenegro. Ahead of us are further important elections. We are moving, as I mentioned, towards local elections in Kosovo, and there will also be local -- and fiercely contested -- elections in adjoining Albania and in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. There will later on be parliamentary elections in Bosnia. And there will have to be local elections in Serbia as well as federal elections in Yugoslavia; although it is difficult to see that these will be free and fair, they could nevertheless represent an opportunity for the people of Serbia and Yugoslavia to make their voices heard. Their choice is between isolation and integration.
There are possibilities for positive change, but also for disruptive conflicts, in several of these elections. I believe that the message that the international community sends will be important for all of them. Here, the position of the European Union is obviously of particular importance. I firmly believe that it is in paving the way for integration into Europe that we must seek the long-term solutions to the issues of the region. The forces of disintegration in the region will finally be overcome only on the day when the full conditions exist for them to be subject to the forces of integration in Europe as a whole. Then we can achieve not only self-sustaining stability, but also the conditions for self-sustaining economic growth in the region, without which we will not overcome the horrible legacy of the many years of war, of destruction, of sanctions and of isolation.
With the exception of the Middle East, there has been no other region of the world, throughout the history of the United Nations, where so many peace operations have been deemed necessary as the region south of Slovenia and north of Greece. We thus not only have an interest in creating the conditions for the success of the present United Nations missions in Kosovo and in Bosnia; we have a strong interest in assisting a region where the peace is kept by others to become a region where the peace is kept by the region itself. But we must all recognize that we have a long way to go.
The next speaker is the representative of Portugal. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Please permit me, Sir, to express my pleasure at seeing you presiding over the work of the Security Council this month and to congratulate you on having organized this historic debate.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union -- Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia -- and the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, as well as the European Free Trade Association countries members of the European Economic Area -- Iceland and Liechtenstein -- align themselves with this statement.
The European Union listened with great appreciation to the briefing that Mr. Carl Bildt, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans, gave the Security Council today. We welcome this opportunity to take stock of the situation in the area from a regional perspective. It is a given that for peace and security to be restored in the region and for democracy and respect for human rights to flourish, they must do so in every part of the Balkans.
The European Union is, by far, the largest contributor to the international efforts to help bring peace and stability to the region. Between 1991 and 1999, the European Union has contributed more than 17 billion euros in development, budgetary and humanitarian assistance to South-eastern Europe. The European Union is offering stabilization and association agreements to five South-eastern European countries with the prospect of eventual membership of the European Union. Allow me to draw the attention of the members of the Security Council to a paper prepared by the European Commission that has been made available; it provides greater detail on the European Union contributions to the Western Balkans region.
There can be no doubt that the European Union is committed -- heavily committed -- to efforts to bring about a peaceful and prosperous Western Balkans. The European Union considers the recent ethnically motivated violence in Kosovo to be intolerable and that it must be stopped. All Kosovars, irrespective of their ethnic origin, must be able to stay in or return to Kosovo, and to live there in peace without harassment or intimidation of any kind. The leaders of all ethnic communities, in particular the Kosovo Albanian community, must take responsibility for achieving this and must act vigorously and urgently to promote tolerance and mutual respect in Kosovo.
This week, the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina was extended for another year, demonstrating clearly the commitment of the international community to making the Paris-Dayton Peace Agreement work. Five years later, much has been accomplished, but much still remains to be done, as was made clear to the Council by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, only last week.
The recent Peace Implementation Council meeting set priorities for a new, accelerated phase of peace implementation in three key strategic areas: economic reform, accelerated return of displaced persons and functional and democratically accountable common institutions.
A crucial aspect of the process of national reconciliation in Bosnia, and in the Balkans as a whole, is a sense among all communities that justice has been served and, in this context, the work of the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) for the Former Yugoslavia must continue to be pursued vigorously. The European Union urges that persons accused of war crimes who are still at large be brought to justice. The Bosnian authorities and all other relevant Governments of the region must cooperate with the ICTY fully and unambiguously to this end.
The peace process in Bosnia, and the prospects for peace and security in the region as a whole, depend very much on whether democracy will be allowed to breathe in Serbia. The European Union is deeply concerned at the continuing deterioration of the political situation in Serbia and condemns the escalating repression of the democratic opposition and independent media by the Belgrade regime. The European Union's policy is not directed against the Serbian people, but against President Milosevi's regime, which is violating basic human rights in the most flagrant manner. The European Union is committed to strengthening its dialogue with Serbian civil society and to supporting democracy and freedom of expression in Serbia; to continuing its support for the democratically elected Government of Montenegro, and to helping re-establish peaceful coexistence in Kosovo.
The way forward has been shown by the people of Croatia. The election in February of a Croatian Government committed to comprehensive reforms marked the beginning of a new era for the country, and the European Union is committed to working very closely with the Croatian authorities in their quest for making Croatia a full-fledged member of the Euro-Atlantic community. This surely is the ultimate goal for all the countries of the western Balkans -- to be participating members of free and democratic Europe. The peace, prosperity and stability of South-Eastern Europe are a strategic priority for the European Union, and its overall objective remains the fullest possible integration of the countries of the region into the political and economic mainstream of Europe.
After this brief look at the European Union's positions on the current developments in the western Balkans region, allow me now to pass the baton to Mr. Javier Solana, High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union. He will elaborate further on the leading role of the European Union in replacing the Balkans' past of war and destruction with a future of peace, prosperity, democracy and human rights.
I thank the Permanent Representative of Portugal for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker on my list is the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Javier Solana. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table, and I welcome him very warmly to speak for the first time before the Security Council.
As you can imagine, it is an honour for me and a great pleasure to be here in the Council today to discuss a topic to which the European Union attaches particular importance.
I would like to thank the French presidency of the Security Council and you, in particular, Mr. President, for the efforts you have made to organize this important meeting.
Allow me also to recall a very moving moment that occurred in this very same Chamber in September 1994, when, the Security Council met to discuss Haiti. I, in my capacity as Foreign Minister of my country, had the tremendous honour and pleasure to preside over that important meeting, which, I believe, had some significant impact on the destiny of our beloved Haiti.
I would like first of all to thank all the members of the Security Council for giving me the opportunity to address the Council. I would like especially to thank the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans, Mr. Carl Bildt, for his opening remarks, which have set the scene for this morning's discussion. I would also like to thank my good friend Ambassador Monteiro for his statement as representative of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The European Union has for many, many years been an important voice in many areas of United Nations work, in particular in fields such as human rights, social and economic issues and development. Increasingly, this is also the case on security issues. The European Union is developing faster than ever before into an organization with access to the full range of external policy instruments, from economic relations to crisis management. This makes our relationship with the United Nations, and in particular the Security Council, even more important. The principles that underlie the European Union's common foreign and security policy reflect the objectives of the United Nations as set out in the Charter. It is therefore not only an immense honour for me to address the Security Council, it is also a historic step in the development of the European Union's foreign policy.
This morning's debate is not a response to a specific crisis in the Balkans. Such crises in the past have been an inevitable part of the evolution of the Balkans. There is no guarantee that we will not face further crises in the future. But I have no doubt that, as in the past, such crises will be overcome.
My intervention this morning is by way of explanation as to why I remain optimistic over the future of the Balkans despite the many, many problems and difficulties which we continue to face. It is not by chance that I have been called upon to spend much of my time, in the nine months since I took up my current post, focusing on the Balkans and, of course, on the situation in Kosovo in particular. It is, rather, a reflection of the importance that the European Union attaches to a region with which it shares common borders and with which it has so much in common.
The European Union, which was founded with the very objective of avoiding future conflict, cannot, and has not been prepared to, sit back in the face of conflicts on its doorstep and do nothing. This is not simply a matter of sentiment. Long-term stability in the Balkans will bring greater security and greater prosperity for Europe as a whole. This is why the European Union has made a long-term commitment to the region. It is a commitment in which the member States, and of course the European Commission, have a vital role to play. And, it led to me being asked specifically by the European Union's heads of Government to address the issue of the coordination of the policies of the European Union in the Balkans and to give greater visibility to its efforts.
Our objective is the fullest possible integration of the countries of the region into the political and economic mainstream of Europe. This is already happening as a result of the historic decision taken by the European Union at the end of last year to extend its existing process of enlargement. Enlargement is our most important tool for guaranteeing the continued stability of the whole of the continent of Europe. The process itself is already binding countries such as Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania into the mainstream of Europe, with positive spillover for the whole region. Enlargement is proving to be a catalyst for greater regional cooperation. It is, for example, encouraging the countries of the region to address in a positive manner the sensitive issue of minorities.
The enlargement process is a key element of the comprehensive regional approach that lies at the heart of the European Union's policy towards the region. But it is not the only one. We have established a stabilization and association process that aims at integrating the countries of the region into European structures. This process encourages internal reform, as well as the development of relations between countries in the region.
The Stability Pact is another key tool for supporting economic development throughout the region. It also encourages internal reform and provides support for the integration process. But one of its most important elements is the promotion of regional cooperation. For the European Union, this is one of the most important challenges for the Stability Pact.
We have of course been the main provider of the financial support that is necessary to underpin this policy. The figures speak for themselves. Since 1991, the European Union and its member States have contributed to the Balkans as a whole over 17 billion, which makes it by far the biggest donor. In Kosovo alone, we have spent more than 3 billion on non-military programmes. This is in addition to our substantial military commitment, which includes the provision of 28,000 troops for the Kosovo Force (KFOR). The European Union has also deployed 1,430 policemen, with a further 270 set to arrive before the summer.
These figures testify to our engagement in the Balkans. They are the instruments of an inclusive policy encompassing the whole region. Of course, there are specific situations that call for quite specific responses. Kosovo is the obvious example. But we have to maintain an overall comprehensive approach to the region if we are to hold out any hope of achieving our objective of bringing the Balkans into the European family of nations. The alternative would merely reinforce the divisions and the tensions that lie at the heart of the problems that have already caused so much suffering.
There is one major obstacle to pursuing a genuinely comprehensive approach to the whole Balkan region. That obstacle is the resistance to political change in Belgrade. Our hope for the region is that it achieve lasting stability. But stability is not an isolated ideal. It depends also on democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and the prosperity that comes from openness and engagement with one's neighbours. These values are being systematically violated by the actions and policies of President Milosevi. The European Union is not prepared to stand idly by in the face of continuing repression. This is why we are actively supporting democracy and freedom of expression in Serbia and developing links with representatives of Serbian civil society. We are ready to extend our economic assistance programme to Serbia once it has embraced those same values that underpin the European Union. We want to help the Serbian people, but for the moment the current regime in Serbia remains an obstacle to that objective.
Elsewhere in the region, Croatia in particular has, through its recent successful democratic transition, given cause for optimism and has helped increase the potential for widening regional cooperation. In parallel to this, we are committed to continuing our support for the democratically elected Government of Montenegro. We shall also continue to support Bosnia, both politically and economically, in its own transition process, in which the forthcoming elections will play a key role. Much still remains to be done, and this process will continue to require sustained commitment by the international community and Bosnia itself.
My firm conviction is that the best chance for realizing long-term stability in the Balkans is through the steady integration of the region into the European mainstream. This will not happen overnight; it is a long-term process. But it is very important. The Irish politician John Hume once described the European Union as the best example of conflict resolution in the history of the world. The European Union has successfully maintained peace and stability in Western Europe for half a century. It is now inconceivable that member States of the European Union would settle their differences by anything other than peaceful means. The European Union offers a model for regional integration as a guarantee for peace. It is a powerful and effective symbol of reconciliation. It also provides protection for minorities within an overarching regional framework. No other solution offers such hope for the Balkans.
In order to achieve this long-term objective, we have set ourselves a number of priorities for the months ahead.
First, we shall concentrate our energies on the various elections taking place in the region in the autumn -- as has already been mentioned by Mr. Carl Bildt -- in Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and, hopefully, also in Serbia. They present a major opportunity to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in the region. We will support as full a participation as possible in these elections, and we shall unambiguously stand by those who genuinely stand for democratic reform. Indeed, we shall lend our support only to those parties and individuals that are uncompromising in their commitment to ethnic tolerance, democracy and the rule of law.
Secondly, we shall continue to support civil society. This is of particular relevance with regard to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but it is also important throughout the region. A vibrant and strong civil society is the key both to economic and political development and to bringing these countries closer to the European Union. We are placing particular emphasis on working with local authorities, the media and non-governmental organizations to help them in their contacts with counterparts in the region and the European Union.
Thirdly, we shall pursue our policy of bringing the countries of the region closer to the European Union. We shall concentrate on developing the stabilization and association process, which is the foundation of our policy towards the region. Negotiations are currently underway with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and are expected to begin soon with Croatia. We are also working closely with Albania and Bosnia to ensure that the conditions for beginning such negotiations are met as soon as possible. For the moment, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia remains outside this important process. I look forward to the day when it will join its neighbours on the same path to European integration.
Finally, we shall remain committed to promoting regional cooperation. This is still much less developed in the region than in many other parts of Europe. It is the key to the economic success of the region and will accelerate its integration into the European Union. Progress in this area is one of the key objectives of the Stability Pact. I have just received a mandate from the European Council to press for better cooperation in combating organized crime and illegal immigration in the region. I am also sure that the summit meeting to be held this autumn between the European Union and the countries of the western Balkans proposed by President Chirac will give a strong impetus to reform and cooperation in the region.
I would like to close by looking specifically at our priorities in Kosovo. The full implementation of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) remains our key objective. The overall positive development of the situation over the past month has been overshadowed recently by the flare-up of inter-ethnic violence and the subsequent decision of the Serb National Council to suspend its participation in the interim institutions. Together with United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and with the Member States I have been working very hard in the last few days to address the legitimate concerns of the Serbs and to encourage them to return to interim institutions.
The municipal elections to be held in autumn this year are intended to lay the foundations of democratic development and political consolidation in Kosovo. The registration process is advancing, and a multi-party structure is gradually taking shape. We shall, however, need to work very hard to ensure a positive environment for the elections.
Successful municipal elections will, in turn, pave the way for the establishment of an interim administration structure, in conformity with Security Council resolution 1244 (1999). These structures need to be prepared under the authority of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in an open and inclusive process, with the active involvement of all the major groups of Kosovo's population. UNMIK will be able to properly fulfil its mandate during this critical period only if we give it the necessary resources. The shortages of high-quality police officers, notwithstanding recent improvements, and of judges and prosecutors, as well as the overall shortfall in staffing, continue to hamper UNMIK's work in key areas. Today the European Union is already bearing carrying the lion's share of the international community's efforts in Kosovo. We will continue to do our utmost to make this Mission a success.
Let me close by recalling the commitment of the European Union to the region. The experience of the Balkans has been a sobering one, but it has also provided us with an opportunity. We have dedicated ourselves to the region, to a wider Europe and to a more outward and mature common foreign security policy. We all stand to gain from that.
I want to thank you, Mr. President, for calling this very important meeting. You have had a very intensive presidency this month, as did Ambassador Wang of China last month. I wish to point out that at this time last week you said there would be a five-minute meeting on Saturday, and it was 11 hours. I hope you have a better weekend than you had last week. I congratulate you on your stewardship.
I particularly want to thank you for inviting today statements by the European Union, as given by Ambassador Monteiro, and presentations by my friends and colleagues and our esteemed visitors, Carl Bildt and Javier Solana. I have had the pleasure of working with both of them now for many years. They have both played seminal roles in the history of the Balkans and in European matters. Their statements are extremely important, and although I was unable to hear Carl Bildt's, I am very familiar with it. I have read it. I talked to Carl in advance, and I endorse everything that both men said.
Before I turn to my own remarks, I would like to make one additional comment about the procedural vote that just took place. The outcome was correct from every standpoint -- legal, political and moral. In addition to my remarks preceding the vote, I need to make one additional point, and I hope that the countries that voted in favour of Mr. Jovanovi's speaking would please note what I am about to say.
I wish to remind everyone that in Security Council resolutions 777 (1992) and 821 (1993), it was decided that the State known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had ceased to exist and that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should apply for membership. Therefore, I do not understand, leaving aside the specifics which led to the vote today, how this situation exists. Tito's old flag is still flying on First Avenue, despite these two resolutions. I consider that a travesty of the United Nations spirit; a flag that represents a nation that the United Nations itself decided did not exist. Yugoslavia is not a member of the General Assembly. We have long urged Belgrade to apply as one of the successor States to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Four others -- Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina -- did apply. They were accepted. The reason for this -- and I have spent many hours talking with the leadership in Belgrade about this, as has Carl Bildt -- is that the Belgrade authorities assert that they are the sole legitimate successor State to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the United Nations has rejected that claim. So the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should -- and this has nothing to do with the war crimes issue -- follow the request of the Security Council, and they should not be invited to speak when they purport to speak for a successor regime that does not exist. That was the unanimous view of the Dayton signatories, even though Belgrade did sign the Agreement, because they had to make it work. That was the view of the Security Council. That was the view of the European Union, under the Badinter Commission. I would just reaffirm that today.
I consider this discussion a continuation of one of the most important events in recent European and world history, and I think it is a solemn obligation of the Security Council to continue to discuss the Balkans.
On the positive side of the ledger, we have recent events in Croatia, where a new democratic Government, headed by people fully dedicated to democratic principles, is moving Croatia rapidly into the community of nations, oriented towards openness and democratic principles. Their commitment to transparency with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and their dealings with the Croatian Democratic Union in Bosnia and their support for dealing with refugee returns have all made a tremendous and positive difference in the region. I wish again today to use this occasion to express our Government's high respect and admiration for the Government in Zagreb. I will be visiting Zagreb next month, and I look forward to having these discussions directly with the Croatian authorities.
Let me turn briefly to Bosnia, where we have recently heard in this Chamber reports from the Special Representative, Jacques Klein, and the High Representative, Carl Bildt's successor plus one, Wolfgang Petritsch. I think we need to recognize that in the midst of difficulties progress can be made, and as Javier Solana just said in a characteristically upbeat and positive manner, we are making progress.
The world's press has long since turned away from Bosnia, so the world does not realize how much progress is being made. But let us recognize that the press turned away from Bosnia because good news is old news, and that is why they are not giving it as much attention as they should. I think all of us should take every occasion to point out that refugee returns to minority areas are up 400 per cent this year and movement is being made.
Nonetheless, the forces of darkness still exist in Bosnia. Mostar is still a tragically torn city. Karadzic is still at large -- one of the most dangerous men in the world -- and he needs to be brought to justice, as do all the other indicted war criminals. The criminal element is threatening the social fabric of all of Bosnia. So I do not wish to say that progress is undiluted, but I think we should acknowledge it.
In Kosovo we face a much more complicated situation as we have heard from our speakers. Now, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), UNMIK, under the brilliant leadership of Bernard Kouchner, has made impressive progress in building an administrative structure responsive to the needs of the people to replace a repressive state structure dominated by the Belgrade authorities.
But I do not wish to gloss over the serious security problems which we discussed in our last meeting with Mr. Kouchner present. I am deeply distressed, more than anything else, at any attempt by either ethnic group to impose its will through intimidation and force on the other. I need to repeat, as I said here last time we met on this subject, that, while we condemn unreservedly the Albanian attacks on the Serb minorities now in Kosovo and while we recognize fully what the purpose of this is -- a reprehensible purpose -- it is not a one-sided story. We must have a full accounting of the 4,000 Albanians who are missing, many of whom I assume are no longer alive, and we must have a resolution of these problems.
Those who resort to violence on either side of the ethnic line in Kosovo must be forced to stop. We have the means to do it if we have the will. A lot of what is happening in this Chamber undermines that will by diversionary discussions, such as an attempt to reinterpret resolution 1244 (1999) or the hour that we spent on the procedural discussion just resolved.
I support Mr. Kouchner's repeated calls for progress on the missing and detainees. We also need to establish a more representative set of structures of government. The critical step is to give the people more authority over their own destiny. I therefore warmly support the statements of Javier Solana and Carl Bildt that the municipal elections should stay on schedule for October. If they are delayed, it jeopardizes the rest of the structure in Kosovo and we will lock ourselves into a worse situation. The people arguing for delay are arguing it for no reason related to the needs of the people of Kosovo, but solely to argue the question of international sovereignty. That is not what municipal elections are about. That is not what they are about, and I hope we can move forward in that regard.
I regret that the Serb community has not participated in the registration process, but we cannot allow that process to be held hostage by one group or by people in Belgrade. All the people of Kosovo -- there are many ethnic groups there -- will have representatives in their administrative governmental structure. If they do not choose to participate, seats will be set aside to protect their interests until they are ready to return as full partners in the political process. I underscore the importance of these events.
Let me conclude with some comments about Serbia and Montenegro. My delegation continues to believe that the issue of Kosovo's security will never be truly solved and long-term peace and stability not be possible until the current regime in Belgrade is replaced by one that is more open and more representative. Meanwhile, Belgrade continues to threaten democracy in its sister Republic of Montenegro. These efforts are unacceptable and, in that regard, I am delighted that the Foreign Minister of Montenegro, Minister Lukovac, is here with us today. I met with him this morning and I urge all those who have time to meet with him. He has important ideas and thoughts which all of us should hear. I salute the courage of President Djukanovic's Government and I recommit the United States to our support of Montenegro's efforts to build a peaceful democratic society.
In regard to the war crimes issue, we should remember that the Tribunal for Yugoslavia, like that for Rwanda, is not some arbitrary institutional creation. I repeat again here today our Government's view that the umbrella of that process should be extended over Foday Sankoh and his henchmen in the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone. These Tribunals and their possible extension to Sierra Leone are created by decisions of this body in this very Chamber. They are vested with the enormous authority of the United Nations. We have a profound responsibility to ourselves, to this institution and to innocent victims everywhere to support them and give them the power they need. I am distressed that countries that supported their establishment now attack them.
The combination of justice with political freedom, expressed through free and fair elections, is the key to stability and peace in the Balkans. Justice with freedom: these principles make up the foundation of all democratic societies. They are principles that we are committed to upholding.
I want to stress in closing that the Council's efforts in the Balkans have relied heavily on the strength and support of other organizations, including the European Union (EU), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Peace Implementation Council -- which Carl Bildt was so deeply involved and helped to establish -- and the military contribution made by the Stabilization Force and the Kosovo Force. The EU has played and will continue to play a particularly crucial role. I hope that High Representative Solana will convey to the European Union our deep appreciation of their efforts.
As all know, I have been critical frequently about the operational structures in Kosovo, and I continue to be critical because I do not think they are efficient enough and I think the system was not adequately conceived and structured from the outset. However, those criticisms, which I make openly, are the criticisms of somebody who is deeply grateful to the EU and to the United Nations for their efforts; who is mindful of the fact, as Carl Bildt pointed out, that the bulk of the money has come from the European Union and not from our own Government; and who deeply appreciates these efforts and makes these comments in a spirit of total commitment to their goals. Thus, I hope that Mr. Solana will convey to Brussels our Government's high appreciation for his being here today and for the efforts of the European Union.
With that, Mr. President, I want to thank you again for holding this very important meeting. I hope that we can revitalize the effort, in addition to simply hearing these important reports today.
At the outset, the Chinese delegation wishes to express its dissatisfaction and deep regret over the fact that the representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia cannot attend today's meeting. Allowing him to make a statement would not impair any country's position, while, by not allowing the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia a voice, the Security Council has deprived a sovereign country of its right to express its views.
This contravenes the spirit of the Charter and we find it very difficult to understand. If we wish to settle the problems in the Balkans, we must maintain dialogue with all sides. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is an important country in the Balkan region. When we discuss the Balkan issue, isolating and excluding the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is narrow-minded, short-sighted and a denial of reality. It does not help the search for a solution to the Balkan problem. We deeply regret this discriminatory decision, which is wrong.
We thank Mr. Bildt for his briefing, but, regrettably, we have not read his report, as expected. We commend Mr. Bildt for his tireless efforts to find a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Balkan question. The Chinese delegation will continue to support Mr. Bildt in his endeavours.
We thank you, Mr. President, for arranging today's open debate. I take this opportunity to express some of the principal positions of the Chinese delegation.
Since ancient times, the Balkan region has experienced very complex ethnic, religious and territorial conflicts, which are interconnected. Some important recent events have made the situation more precarious yet. China is deeply concerned by the development of the situation in the Balkans, including the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
With regard to the question of Kosovo, I would stress that the grave situation there is the result of various factors. Ethnic conflicts are domestic concerns, while the wilful interference of foreign forces is an external factor that has exacerbated the conflict. Last year, on March 24, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia indiscriminately and set a bad precedent of using force against a sovereign country with the excuse of humanitarian questions. It undermined the basic norms of international law and the principles and purposes of the Charter and the credibility of the United Nations and the Security Council.
NATO's bombing of civilian facilities and a foreign diplomatic establishment also violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention and its Additional Protocol. China has expressed its strong opposition to this. China has made a tremendous effort to bring NATO's ceasefire and to bring the Kosovo question back to the Security Council.
NATO's use of force has caused a greater humanitarian crisis. As a result ethnic disputes have become ethnic hatred. This wound will need a very long time to heal. Historical lessons must be learned. The tragedy of NATO's military intervention into Kosovo cannot be repeated.
The evolution of the Kosovo situation as well as the entire Balkan situation, deserves our in-depth reflection. The majority of the countries in the world, especially the countries in the Balkans, are multi-ethnic and multi-religious. Differences among different religions and ethnic groups should be settled through peaceful means, rather than deepening their differences.
There have always been two forces in the Balkan region, one for unity and one for separation. The international community should suppress the separatist forces and extremists. Only in this way can the Balkans achieve long-term stability and development. Otherwise, if separatist forces and extremists are condoned and encouraged, conflicts and wars will erupt again and the Balkans will be deprived permanently of peace.
Furthermore, I would like to emphasize that the United Nations should not encourage and support any activity of changing a Government of a country through foreign interference.
We always advocate equality, unity, harmonious co-existence and common development for the people of countries with a multi-national character. We are against any prejudice, oppression and killing based on ethnicity. We are also opposed to any effort to create ethnic division or to sabotage national unity.
Fundamentally speaking, the Kosovo problem can be resolved only within the framework of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, through substantial autonomy and a good ethnic policy that guarantees the rights and interests of all ethnic groups and protects and promotes the human rights of all ethnic groups. Achieving autonomy should be done by way of negotiations and solutions acceptable to both sides. The Chinese delegation believes that only by restoring the national harmony that the Balkan region once enjoyed can genuine and lasting peace and prosperity be achieved. Other than this there is no way out.
My delegation thanks Mr. Bildt for his briefing of the Security Council on the positive developments in the Balkans and on the difficult issues still faced by the region.
We take note of these positive developments in the region, which we believe auger well for the achievement of sustainable peace. There are ongoing regional initiatives aimed at reconciliation and reintegration, and these are commendable. It is for this reason that my delegation attaches great importance to the Stability Pact process, to the Central European initiative and the working community of the Danube regions. The relations between States continue to evolve, and we encourage and support attempts at regional cooperation, integration and development.
We have seen the induction of new leaders in Croatia following elections, and the continuation of policies that foster stability, not only in Croatia but in the entire region. Their recent accession to the partnership for peace at the recent North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) meeting in Florence is a positive step forward. We also note the recent signing of an agreement between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on financial assistance to the federal Ministry of Defense. The holding of local elections recently in Montenegro is also a positive development for the region.
In light of these positive developments, my delegation regrets the necessity for the procedures the Council was forced to employ today in determining participation in our discussions of the Balkans region. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia continues to be further isolated from full participation in the progress being made in the region, for reasons which have been stated here today. This dilemma remains, and it is difficult to move forward without a solution. Our decision here this morning provides glaring proof of the magnitude of this problem. This exclusion affects stability in the region, and we are hopeful that a solution will be found soon.
The United Nations continues to work diligently in Kosovo to bring stability to that territory as quickly as possible on par with the countries of the region, both economically and politically. Ongoing efforts to reduce the level of violence and the discrimination against minorities are crucial to this process. The recent discovery of a cache of arms in Kosovo is a major concern.
We have noted reports in the media that Mr. Kouchner intends to establish a hybrid court in Kosovo to try cases related to war crimes and other related crimes in Kosovo.
While we recognize this to be in response to the climate of criminality prevailing in Kosovo and the admitted failure to establish an impartial judiciary in Kosovo, it is not clear to us the extent of jurisdiction that is contemplated. The reach of that jurisdiction will require careful consideration. The concurrent jurisdiction with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) over certain criminal acts must be appropriately defined so as to avoid duplication and conflict. This takes on added significance in the context of expansion of the ICTY that is currently being considered by the Security Council.
My delegation views this decision by Mr. Kouchner as very significant for the region. Because this decision is imminent, we have to assume that this matter has been under consideration for some time. However, the Council has not been briefed on this issue in recent reports. I also note that Mr. Bildt made no mention of this, and my delegation would welcome his comments.
The progress made recently in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly to ensure the full implementation of the Dayton accords and to ensure membership in the Council of Europe, also constitutes a positive development. We are concerned, however, that, for all those positive developments, the refugee situation throughout the region remains to be solved. We hope that this matter will retain priority status in regional talks aimed at reconciliation.
Let me express my delegation's appreciation to you, Mr. President, for convening this important meeting. We cannot fail to observe that the procedural problem we had to face this morning had to do with an uneasiness -- indeed, a reluctance -- on the part of many members of the international community to deal with the regime in Belgrade. We trust that the procedural decision we took this morning has settled this issue once and for all. We hope also that the procedural question will not deflect us from discussing the substantive aspects of the issue before us today.
We are grateful for the very useful briefing by Mr. Carl Bildt, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans. We would also like to welcome to the Council Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, and to thank him for his statement, which has certainly contributed to enriching our discussion.
My delegation is aware that discussions of this issue have not been limited to the Security Council but have also taken place in various other forums, in particular the European Union, as Mr. Solana just described. We, however, believe that the Council has an important role to play, given its responsibilities under the United Nations Charter; indeed, as Mr. Bildt has stressed many a time, continued international consensus and support are crucial to the overall efforts to promote peace in the Balkans.
At the meeting the Council had with Mr. Bildt last February, my delegation emphasized four core areas that are vital to the success of the international efforts to achieve self-sustaining peace and stability, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo. Those areas relate to, first, the return of refugees and displaced persons; secondly, the reconciliation process and the important role of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in contributing to the process; thirdly, the need for unstinted international support for and active engagement in the current peace process; and last but not least, the role of the leadership of countries of the region.
We have paid particular attention to what Mr. Bildt has said on these areas, because we believe that progress on these issues will have a positive impact on the peace process and on the overall stabilization of the Balkan region. In addition to these core areas, the success of the international involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo must be based on a long-term comprehensive approach encompassing many other aspects of the problem. We have taken careful note of Mr. Bildt's analysis and assessment, as well as of the proposed framework for a comprehensive peace, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo, and in the Balkan region as a whole. We were also gratified to hear from Mr. Solana the perspective and priorities of the European Union relating to these critical issues.
Clearly, the strengthening of democratic institutions and economic and social rehabilitation are crucial factors for self-sustaining peace in all post-conflict situations. That is where the international community's efforts must be matched by a strong commitment and a constructive attitude on the part of local leaders. At the same time, good-neighbourly relations, close cooperation and integration between and among all the Balkan countries through appropriate regional frameworks and structures are also important ingredients in the consolidation of peace and sustainable development. The early resolution of the issue of succession of the countries of the former Yugoslavia will certainly contribute to the attainment of that goal. We share the views expressed this morning by Ambassador Holbrooke of the United States on the issue of the status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the context of the United Nations, which predicated our position in the procedural vote taken this morning.
Any meaningful discussion of the future of the Balkans cannot but address the issue of the Belgrade regime and how to deal with it. Indeed, the procedural problem faced by the Council at the beginning of this morning's meeting was symptomatic of that problem and brought into sharp focus the uneasiness -- indeed, as I said, the reluctance -- of the larger part of the international community to deal with the regime in Belgrade and its representatives. This conundrum of how to deal with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia cannot be resolved so long as its Government continues to be led by people who have been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. We entirely agree with what Mr. Jacques Paul Klein said when he addressed the Council last week:
"The Milosevi regime in Serbia remains the fundamental obstacle to improved regional peace and stability and a better life not only for Serbs but for all people there". (S/PV.4154, p. 7)
We also share the views expressed by Mr. Bildt, who directly addressed the issue this morning.
The return of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to a mainstream regional and international life will clearly be facilitated by the trial of those indictees, by the proper readmission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the United Nations and by the settlement of the outstanding issue of successor States to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In that regard, my delegation commends the position taken by Ms. Carla Del Ponte, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, opposing any move towards an accommodation with Mr. Milosevi with respect to his indictment by the Tribunal. Such a deal would make a mockery of the entire international tribunal process and would be a travesty of justice for those on trial and those already sentenced by the court. Only the meting out of justice to those indicted by the Tribunal and those to be indicted in the future, representing the forces of extremism and disintegration as Mr. Bildt has so eloquently called them, would strengthen the process of tolerance and integration around which the search for self-sustaining stability in the region as a whole will revolve. It is the forces involved in that process which should be embraced and strongly supported by the international community, including the Council, not those negative forces of obstructionism.
We welcome once again Mr. Carl Bildt, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans. We thank him for his thorough and engaging statement. We commend his efforts and his initiatives for self-sustaining peace and stability in the Balkans. We are aware of the vastness of the task ahead of him and of the complexity of the issues in the region.
The statement by Mr. Javier Solana, High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, was very enriching to our consideration of the item on the agenda.
The Balkans is a region where disintegrative forces are still dominant and where the international political equation is not always fully supportive of cohesion or of the implementation of peace objectives. The issues there are different in different areas, but some common threads run through all of them. While we need to take individual approaches to deal with specific problems, there is also a need to view them from a regional macro-perspective. There have been some such initiatives, the most important being the Stability Pact initiative of last year, sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
We note that its efforts range from economic reconstruction to political reform and closer regional integration. However, further regional efforts, with firm support from the Security Council, could contribute much to settling the long-term issues of achieving peace in the Balkans.
The United Nations should continue to focus on a number of areas in this region. First, the general security situation needs improvement. The region has been involved in war and inter-ethnic conflict for too long. Human rights have been grossly violated, and justice has been denied. There has been too much violence from attacks and counter-attacks on minorities. The situation is particularly disturbing where there is a minority presence.
The international community has been putting up its best efforts, and considerable progress has also been achieved, but much more remains to be done.
Secondly, the issue of missing persons and detainees is important, particularly in Kosovo. There should be an early settlement of the fate of people who remain lost or held captive. Protracting this problem will work against attempts to build trust and confidence between and among the different communities.
Thirdly, the return of refugees and internally displaced persons is one of the chief concerns in the region. In Kosovo, a large number of refugees have returned; displaced persons are also settling into their own places. But this is also accompanied by an outflow of Serbs from many areas. Although large-scale return has taken place, the refugee problem is still one of the main concerns of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The lack of adequate security assurance, compounded by painful memories of the recent past, are problems to overcome. We need to invest further in confidence-building measures.
Finally, speeding up economic development and reconstruction in the region is a key factor which can rekindle hope among people. It will be a natural deterrent to violence. The international community has made a good deal of investment, but it still remains inadequate. A massive plan of post-war economic recovery and reconstruction is needed to give the region a thriving economy.
We must actively seek change in the region, and we are very encouraged by the recent initiation of the democratic process in a number of countries in the region. We believe it is important to seize that democratic energy and build on it to create a region of peace and development. Any attempts without an all-out commitment on the part of the international community or international political consensus will be detrimental to the region, where peace can be achieved and should be achieved.
We should concentrate on rising above political differences in order to achieve peace in a region which has long been in the grip of conflicting forces, at a tremendous cost to the broader interests of the people of the region.
Mr. President, thank you for organizing this open debate on a matter of enormous importance to all Members of the Organization. I would also like to warmly welcome both Mr. Bildt and Mr. Solana to our meeting this morning. Their presence and their remarks make a vitally important contribution to the Security Council's consideration of this difficult and complex matter.
This morning I would like to comment on a few of the points which Mr. Bildt highlighted in his briefing. We agree with his observation that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia remains a key to sustainable peace in the Balkans. It is a point which may sound trite, but we believe it bears repeating. We have seen time and time again that any possibility of constructive engagement is blocked by the current regime in Belgrade. We have seen no glimmer of recognition from Belgrade of the need to re-examine the policies that have created such hardship, instability and abuse of people throughout the region over the last decade.
If anything, recent events in Yugoslavia provide ample evidence that Belgrade has no intention of putting an end to its repression of independent media, political opposition and non-governmental organizations, and that it has no intention of putting an end to its systematic use of violence in pursuing its political objectives.
It is crucial for the international community to monitor Belgrade's performance closely and to act in a coordinated fashion to promote broad democratic development. The international community has a role to play, despite the obstructionism in Belgrade. For example, we should examine regionally based measures to encourage Montenegro to continue to pursue a prudent process of democratic and economic reform. We can also take measures to support independent, reform-minded voices in Serbia. We would be interested in Mr. Bildt's thoughts on how best to achieve these goals in the interest of stability throughout the region.
A great part of that stability depends, in our view, on the effective management of the situation in Kosovo. However, Kosovo's final status cannot be resolved until there are viable prospects for a genuine and productive negotiation between a responsible Government in Belgrade and democratically accountable representatives in Pristina. It is important for the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to proceed with the interim development of Kosovo's political institutions, as foreseen in resolution 1244 (1999), including early, free and fair elections at the municipal level, in which we should be encouraging all parties to participate.
In order to implement resolution 1244 (1999) fully, and to establish a climate conducive to reconciliation, it is up to Belgrade to make constructive gestures on such matters as war crimes prosecution, facilitating the preparation for elections, including allowing the participation of Kosovar Serbs in the upcoming municipal elections in Kosovo, and addressing the issue of missing and detained Kosovars. We welcome UNMIK's lead in bringing these issues to the forefront.
Turning to other parts of the region, Canada strongly supports the three priorities -- strengthening common institutions, refugee returns and economic development -- set out by High Representative Petritsch at the recent Bosnia Peace Implementation Council ministerial meeting in Brussels. These areas remain critical for accelerated implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement and for self-sustaining peace to take root in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Further south, Canada is encouraged by the efforts undertaken by the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to reform its economy and political structures and to maintain its ethnic balance. In this regard, we are happy that negotiations between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the European Union on its future status as an associate member are progressing smoothly.
We welcome the recent granting of access to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Partnership for Peace to Croatia. It is a clear recognition of the recent responsive attitude Croatia has adopted towards its international obligations. The new Croatian authorities are now making a real contribution to the peace-building process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to stability throughout the region, by reducing and making more transparent its assistance to Bosnian Croats and by undertaking initiatives aimed at fostering refugee returns. This should be fully supported by the Council for the important impetus it provides to peace implementation elsewhere in the Balkans.
Lastly, we agree with Mr. Bildt that lasting peace in the region can best be achieved by the integration of the Balkans into European structures and through continuing the cooperation and achieving the consensus of the international community. In the latter task, the Security Council has an important role to play. Fortunately, there is wide, if not unanimous, agreement within the Council that repression and obstructionism must not be tolerated in the search for stability in the Balkans.
I would like to warmly welcome both Mr. Bildt and Mr. Solana, and to thank Mr. Bildt for his comprehensive briefing.
Mindful of the concept to hold today's meeting in the form of an interactive dialogue with the Special Envoy, I would like to limit my remarks to the following several points.
After decade-long efforts to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation to the Balkans, the situation in this part of Europe still requires constant international attention and involvement. In responding to different conflicts in the Balkans over the years, the international community -- with the United Nations at the forefront -- has acquired a long record of both successes and failures. What we have just heard from Mr. Bildt reinforces my delegation's conviction that the establishment of a lasting and self-sustaining peace in the Balkans can be achieved only by addressing all the existing problems of a regional dimension, and with the participation of all the countries of the region. We totally agree with Mr. Bildt's view on the need for a political framework that provides stability for the entire region, since to contain or to solve the tensions in one part of the region will not suffice.
Today it seems that all of us are largely satisfied with the remarkable progress achieved by the post-conflict peace-building efforts in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the absence of inter-ethnic violence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. At the same time, the dangerous developments in the situation in Kosovo remain a source of grave concern to us, and are a constant threat to international achievements towards peace in the whole region. My country is deeply disturbed by the increasing upsurge of ethnically related violence against non-Albanians. This must be stopped by any means.
We cannot be satisfied with Kosovo's steady movement towards independence.
We were pleased to take note of Mr. Bildt's remark made at the South-East Europe high-level conference held in Tokyo last May. We can affirm the similarity of our assessments that a regional political framework for Kosovo is possible only if there is an international consensus on what we are trying to achieve there. It is difficult to disagree with Mr. Bildt that the future of Kosovo should one day be settled through an arrangement and agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, thus making peace in the region possible. This is the only viable scenario.
At the same time, we are not convinced that there cannot be any dialogue to that end with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under its current leadership. Such a dialogue should be sought for the sake of peace in the region and for the future of this country. In our view, the increasing tendency to exclude and isolate the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from the regional framework is counter-productive, because this country remains a key player in a final settlement of any existing problems and disputes in the Balkans.
We agree with the point that the future structure of the entire region can be substantially affected by the future of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. What we should therefore avoid now is putting this country in such a position that will impede it from becoming democratic and integrated into the European family of nations.
I would also like to reiterate our support for Mr. Bildt's view that any long-term strategy for stability and peace in the region is based on the successful pursuit of the comprehensive reform of all societies devastated by conflict, the reintegration of the region into the European and global infrastructure, and reconciliation between all the States and nations of the region.
Undoubtedly, the issues of refugee returns and economic reconstruction remain central to the entire process of ensuring regional stability. In this context, factual accounts of increased returns of refugees and displaced persons to Bosnia are encouraging. The commitment of the new leadership of Croatia to solving the existing problem of refugee returns to that country should also be acknowledged. At the same time, we believe that much more has to be done to create the conditions for solving the problem of refugees and internally displaced persons in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and for reversing the continued mass exodus of national minorities from Kosovo as a result of systematic acts of violence against them.
My delegation again emphasizes the significance of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe as a basic document that provides a solid regional framework for the economic reconstruction of the Balkans as a whole, and reiterates Ukraine's interest in becoming closely associated with this process.
I must now raise another point that seems to be of the utmost importance. That point is the lack of established dialogue between the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General and the Security Council. Unfortunately, the Council does not have at its disposal sufficient information about Mr. Bildt's activities in the Balkans and his regional approaches. We are grateful to Mr. Bildt for his presentation today, but even an excellent briefing cannot substitute for a written document containing concrete recommendations for the Council's consideration. We are disappointed by the fact that in the last three months the Secretariat has failed to prepare and to submit a report to the Council on Mr. Bildt's activities and regional approaches for the Balkans. In our view, such a document is indispensable. We also see the merit of defining the time-frame for submitting such reports to the Council on a regular basis, say every six months.
My delegation is of the view that Mr. Bildt's broad mandate can allow him to address some Balkan issues that for different reasons are outside the focus of the Security Council. We also deem it important for Mr. Bildt to play a more active role in the coordination of efforts between the international actors on the ground, including all the United Nations missions in the Balkans. Therefore the establishment of the usual practice of such briefings in the form of an interactive dialogue between the Council and the Special Envoy -- such as the one we are having today -- along with the submission of the Secretary-General's report on a regular basis, will be quite beneficial. It will obviously enable the Council to have a better grasp of Mr. Bildt's activities and, when necessary, to extend its political support to him or use his good offices.
Back in February, my delegation also asked the Secretariat to provide additional information about the activities of the second Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans, Mr. Kukan. Unfortunately, no briefing has been delivered. I would therefore like to repeat that request again.
Finally, let me reiterate the readiness of my country to continue its contribution to our joint endeavours to restore peace and security in the Balkans from the regional perspective advocated by Mr. Bildt. We look forward to positively considering his new ideas presented to the Council today.
In conclusion, I wish Mr. Bildt every success in his activities in the Balkans.
I would like to begin my statement by welcoming the presence here of Mr. Carl Bildt, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, and Mr. Javier Solana, High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union. I would also like to thank them for their messages.
Because of its past -- but also because of its present -- the Balkan region seems to be synonymous with war and inter-ethnic conflict. However, we do not believe that this situation is irreversible. Although it may sometimes appear very difficult or even impossible to do, we think it will be possible to achieve a stable and peaceful region if the members of the region share the principles of pluralism, respect for human rights and the rule of law -- in a short, an attachment to the institutions and values considered to be indispensable for representative democracy. In our opinion, it would also be necessary for the States of the region to achieve a level of economic and social development that they do not have today, and for their peoples to have the hope of achieving it.
A quick glance at the current situation in the Balkans demonstrates that positive changes are taking place in Croatia, while there is still a long way to go in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The future of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is unknown. There are encouraging signs in Kosovo, thanks to the efforts of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the Stabilization Force, although those signs are sometimes clouded by the behaviour of those who continue to encourage division and extreme nationalism.
In this connection, allow me to recall that a few days ago, when discussing Kosovo, my delegation pointed out that when Argentina voted in favour of resolution 1244 (1999), it did so to protect a people who were being victimized by ethnic cleansing, in violation of the most basic human values. But this was in no way meant to permit or encourage those who were victims of violence at the time to become the victimizers of another minority on which they were called on to protect.
Montenegro is in a difficult situation, and its relationship with Serbia is extremely worrisome. So far we have seen a totalitarian regime in Serbia that does not respect human rights. These situations are not isolated from each other; rather, there is a natural interrelationship at work between them. The international community must try to enable the positive changes we are seeing in Croatia, for example, to have a positive influence on the other countries of the region in which there are conflicts, and try to promote a collective awareness that the peoples and the countries of the Balkans share a common destiny that transcends immediate, individual short-term interests.
The transition from authoritarianism to democracy and a market economy, from being gagged to freedom of expression, from discrimination to equal opportunity and from taking justice into one's own hands to the rule of law can be achieved only through great effort and sacrifice. These efforts and sacrifices are not the sole responsibility of the international community, which gives human and material resources. They are also the fundamental responsibility of the Balkan people themselves; the desire for reconciliation must come from them. Reconciliation can be encouraged, but it cannot be imposed.
The goal of achieving a stable and peaceful Balkan region will become a reality when the idea of that common destiny prevails over ethnic and religious differences, when corruption and crime cease to be a way of life, when respect for one's neighbour becomes more important than hatred and violence and when the justice of judges becomes more important than the justice of revenge. We have hope that the countries and peoples of the Balkans will be able to achieve coexistence in the framework of the democratic values that prevail today in Europe, a region to which the Balkans belong because of geography, culture and history.
To this end, the totalitarian obstacles that still exist will have to be eliminated. This seems to be a sine qua non for the beginning of the process of reconciliation and tolerance.
Before concluding, I wish to reaffirm the support for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia that we expressed when Judge Jorda and Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte were here with us.
I wish to congratulate you, Mr. President, on having convened this meeting to consider the situation in the Balkan region. I also wish to address thanks to Mr. Carl Bildt, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans, for his full and informative briefing. I wish to express to Mr. Solana my Government's appreciation for the commitment shown by the European Union in that part of the world and in many other regions in order to restore peace and stability.
Aware of the specific characteristics of each country of the region, we think that a joint, comprehensive and targeted initiative is the way to move towards the restoration and consolidation of peace in the Balkan region. Indeed, the problems in the Balkan region are to a certain extent similar and are closely linked. Any solution advocated here can succeed only if we take into consideration the general environment, and it would run the risk of practical difficulties of implementation. Geographical unity, the human component and the common past of the Balkans militate in favour of a comprehensive approach. The fragile yet stable situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the passing of the urgency phase in Kosovo, are positive signs that give hope for the future prosperity of the entire region.
There are several problems seriously affecting peace and stability in the region that could be resolved by taking a joint approach. I refer in particular to the question of refugees and displaced persons, which, because of its transnational nature, requires the cooperation of all the parties concerned.
The same goes for economic matters. We think that increasing economic contacts between the Balkan countries is not only a factor for prosperity and stability, but it is also a way to strengthen confidence among the peoples of the region. Interregional cooperation could also be extended in order to combat illegal activities in the region that imperil the security and well-being of citizens.
In order to obtain the cooperation of all parties concerned, we think it is necessary to offer all the countries in the Balkans a grand plan in a regional context. That is why we think the Stability Pact for South-East Europe, proposed by the European Union, is an opportunity for the Balkan region to promote peace and security. This is an appropriate framework that should be implemented promptly so that it can be manifested in real terms through the promotion of political and economic reform and the strengthening of regional security. The adoption of the Charter on good neighbourly relations, stability, security and cooperation in South-East Europe, adopted by the summit of South-East European countries on 12 February 2000, as well as the new regional integration process, the Adriatic-Ionian initiative, launched recently in Italy, are actions that attest to the commitment of the parties to respond positively to the international community's efforts to restore confidence to the region.
It is a real pleasure to have Carl Bildt with us this morning and to hear his important analysis of the overall scene in the Balkans and what we need to do in the stage ahead. It is also a marvellous occasion to have with us today the High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Javier Solana. He has made a powerful statement of the European Union's input into Balkans policy. It was, after all, time that the European Union's role in the Balkans should be comprehensively stated in the Security Council, and it is good to see the representative of the United States acknowledging that.
I have nothing whatsoever to add to what Mr. Javier Solana has said. The United Kingdom obviously supports his statement 100 per cent. But, Mr. President, you asked us to be interactive this morning, and I want to pick up one or two things from statements and events from earlier in the day.
First of all, the fuss about the status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: it was a train wreck waiting to happen. The current position of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in this Organization is wrong and unsustainable. It is no good their continuing to ask to speak at events like this, when the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should be seeking to establish its status in this Organization. I hope that many of us will try to make that happen. The United Kingdom is for universality in this Organization. It is not just a matter of the unacceptable policies of Belgrade at this stage. There is a status problem here that needs to be sorted out.
Second is a point about security. Carl Bildt's statement to us this morning amounts in some its aspects to an early warning on Montenegro, on the unsustainability of security in the Balkans while Belgrade takes its present approach to regional matters and on the persistence of tensions there anyway.
Not many people have referred this morning to the important role of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) in Kosovo. Like Jamaica, we welcome the recent seizure by KFOR of a large cache of weapons in the Drenica valley. KFOR is leading the ongoing task of finding and confiscating illegal weapons with increasing success. These actions are actually fundamental to undermining extremist minorities that prefer violence and intimidation to tolerance and cooperation, and we must keep them going.
There are times when the judicious use of force is necessary to set the limits of brutal behaviour. That includes last year and this in Kosovo.
Then there is the action of the Tribunal, which this morning has been called "politicized". Well, when political leaderships are involved in the brutality that we see in the Balkans, of course there are going to be political aspects, but when there is such substantial evidence that those political leaderships have been involved in crimes against humanity, difficult decisions have to be made and those decisions should be supported by this Council, which created the Tribunals in question.
Thirdly, I just want to mention Bosnia. General elections are coming up in Bosnia in November and it is time -- and I think Carl Bildt pointed to this by expressing concern about the aid dependence of Bosnia -- for political leadership there to begin to take a responsibility for the future of the people of Bosnia. It would be wonderful if Bosnia could show an example to Kosovo in this respect and take up again the responsibility of political leadership that has been so sadly lacking in this particular region.
I return again to the important role of the European Union (EU) in this whole question. I think that, with the greater regional cooperation that we are seeing now in the Balkans and the dynamic engagement of the EU, we can encourage all the people of the Balkans to resolve their differences pragmatically and peacefully. That is the way to go and I hope this Council can support it.
We, too, are grateful to Special Envoy Carl Bildt for his comprehensive statement. In response, we will be brief, as the European Union has spoken on our behalf.
It is appropriate that the European Union as such should participate in this debate on the Balkans, for we should once and for all be finished with the notion that the countries which constitute the European Union are naturally blessed with peace, whereas those which lie in the Balkan peninsula are predestined for trials and tribulations. Let us not forget that the concept of the European Coal and Steel Community, the forerunner of today's European Union, was based on the belief that a new economic and political framework was needed if future Franco-German conflict was to be avoided. That was a totally self-evident fear when Robert Schuman launched his plan exactly half a century ago. We believe that what has been possible in Western Europe should also be achievable in the Balkans.
In 1991, the Netherlands assumed the presidency of the European Union -- which was not yet called "Union" at the time -- less than a week after the declaration of independence by Croatia and Slovenia. This may explain why my delegation feels so deeply involved in everything that has happened in the region since. Throughout our presidency, until the end of 1991, our attempts to develop a common Balkans policy were repeatedly hindered by fanciful stories in the media about hidden historical ties between France and Serbia or between Germany and Croatia, or about Britain's insular lack of interest in either of them. At the time these stories were written, they were already a bit of a caricature, but today all these special ties are completely a thing of the past. The European Union has really succeeded in forging a common Balkan policy.
That is why it is my pleasure to stop here and subscribe to everything that has been said by the Permanent Representative of Portugal and by Mr. Solana as the High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy.
We, too, would like to thank the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Carl Bildt, for his informative briefing this morning. We should also like to thank and acknowledge the positive statements made by Mr. Solana and Mr. Monteiro of the European Union.
Namibia remains concerned about the unsettled political situation in the Balkans, in particular Bosnia and Herzegovina and the province of Kosovo. However, for today, we think it worthwhile to reflect on reasons for optimism over the future of the Balkans, despite the many problems and difficulties that face the region.
In this regard, the Stability Pact programme put forward by States members of the European Union and others outside Europe is an important programme for reviving the socio-economic situation in the Balkans. However, we would like to see the programme applied to cover the entire region. Namibia believes that the idea behind the Stability Pact was and remains an excellent concept to bring stability to the region and to allow these regional States to join the rest of the European family.
With regard to some of the specific areas of concern, my delegation supports the forthcoming municipal elections in Kosovo and commends the work of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo command, under the leadership of Mr. Kouchner.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, we agree with Mr. Bildt that the road ahead is still long and precarious. Therefore, the role of the international community is essential because refugees, inter alia, must be given the opportunity to return to their homes and internally displaced persons must be afforded the dignity and freedom to reclaim their right to citizenship.
In order to provide momentum for peace and stability efforts in the Balkans, my delegation still believes that it is incumbent upon the international community to invest in the possibility of organizing a conference for dialogue and reconciliation to complement the elements of regional cooperation very well articulated today in the Stability Pact programme. This indaba must bring members of the political leadership, civil society and the private sector together to deliberate on their region and devise appropriate solutions to the problems that have bedevilled the region for decades, if not centuries. This, in our view, will consolidate the situation and provide appropriate strategies for the way forward, and might prevent further crises in the future.
In conclusion, I once again wish to express our appreciation for the briefing by the Special Envoy and my delegation wishes to encourage him to continue the good work of engaging the leaders of the region.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as representative of France.
I shall confine myself to making four brief remarks. First of all, this meeting of the Security Council was necessary and is taking place at the right time. In the course of this month of June, the Council has been able to address in some depth the situations in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has also heard the President and the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, thereby demonstrating its commitment to international justice.
It is good that the Security Council now has an overall vision for the future of the Balkan region, the very subject of the consistently clear and precise statement made by Mr. Bildt, for which we thank him once again.
My second point is that this meeting of the Security Council is an unprecedented one. For the first time, and I welcome this wholeheartedly, the Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative for the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Solana, as well as the Presidency of the European Union, spoke in this Chamber. This reflects the institutional evolution of the European Union being brought into the work of this Council. France about to take over from Portugal at the head of the European Union, is pleased that an agreement was able to emerge so that Mr. Solana could speak today, in accordance with our wishes.
My third point is that these statements were particularly important and necessary, in that the European Union is very strongly involved in the Balkans in restoring what has been destroyed, in bandaging the wounds that are still open and, above all, in giving a vision of the future to the States of the region.
My last point is that in this spirit, France has proposed the holding of a summit between the European Union and the countries of the western Balkans, which, although they are at different stages, are the furthest along in their democratic evolution. The European Council, meeting on 19 and 20 June in Santa Maria da Fera welcomed this idea. The Council of Europe recognized that such a summit would provide an opportunity for the countries of the region to receive further assurances of the solidarity of Europe and would provide an opportunity to study with them ways of speeding up the process of democratic and economic reform. The meeting could be held in Zagreb and would provide the European Union with an opportunity to bring even more influence to bear in encouraging the recent democratic developments. This would also help create new momentum.
I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.
The next speaker on my list is the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, His Excellency Mr. Raymond Johansen. I welcome him and I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Norway would like to express its appreciation for the briefing made by the United Nations Special Envoy Carl Bildt as well as its concurrence with the assessment made by the European Union and Mr. Javier Solana.
Developments in South-East Europe are of vital importance to the stability of Europe and the integration process on the European continent. As a partner in this process, Norway has been engaged all over the Balkans, as a major donor to the efforts to promote lasting peace and development in the region, providing peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel and financial support.
Norway remains firmly committed and engaged. Assisting the people and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the peace implementation process has naturally been a primary focus of our efforts. Important progress has been achieved since Dayton, and we encourage the Bosnian authorities to continue to pursue the priorities set by the Peace Implementation Council with determination.
Developments in Serbia and Montenegro are of vital importance to stability and security in the region. Norway has strongly condemned the Serbian Government's recent action against independent media and the systematic campaign of repression against the democratic opposition. These actions only serve to further isolate Serbia from the rest of Europe. The Milosevi regime is becoming increasingly totalitarian. It is moving to effectively block assistance to opposition forces.
Norway has developed close cooperation with several opposition-led municipalities and will continue to provide assistance to them, as well as to independent media and civil society.
The continued violence in Kosovo is cause for great concern. The upsurge in ethnically motivated violence is totally unacceptable and must be stopped. The recent killings of Kosovo Serbs seem to be aimed at forcing remaining Kosovo Serbs to flee, as well as at preventing the return to Serbia of those already displaced. Improved security for all citizens of Kosovo is, in our view, a prerequisite for sustainable development in Kosovo.
Norway welcomes the commitment to far-reaching reforms shown by the Croatian Government. We believe it is important to ensure that the Racan Government succeeds. A democratic Croatia will be a catalyst for reform throughout the region.
Norway has become a full-fledged participant in the Stability Pact for South-East Europe. This reflects Norway's commitment to continue to participate in and contribute to the processes of bringing peace and stability to the region. We have set aside $15 million for specific Stability Pact projects. Our total assistance to the region will reach approximately $100 million this year.
In addition, Norway offers improved trading conditions for the countries of the region, either through free trade agreements, together with our European Free Trade Association partners, or unilaterally by granting General System of Preferences treatment.
In the view of the Norwegian Government, Macedonia deserves special attention and increased support from the international community. In a region otherwise marked by turbulence and violence, Macedonian leaders have skilfully and peacefully managed the transition to an independent State, now seeking integration in Euro-Atlantic structures.
It is now our duty to support the Macedonian people and the Government in their efforts. This will be an important contribution to stability for and peaceful coexistence between the nations of South-East Europe.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Japan. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I would like to express my delegation's gratitude to you, Mr. President, for convening this very timely meeting on the Balkan region. I also appreciate the Council's decision to enable Japan to express its views on this issue of critical importance for international peace. As Mr. Carl Bildt, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Balkans, has stated on various occasions, in addition to responding to problems specific to the situation in various parts of the Balkan region, it is important to consider the region as a whole, in a comprehensive manner.
Sharing this perception, Japan has sought to develop the discussion on how the stability of the entire Balkan region might best be realized. This past May, for example, it convened in Tokyo a high-level conference on South-East Europe, which was attended by representatives of countries in the region and by many other dignitaries, including Mr. Carl Bildt and Mr. Bodo Hombach, Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South-eastern Europe. At that meeting, Japan's Foreign Minister, Mr. Yohei Kono, stressed the importance of building a community where different ethnic groups can live in harmony and the importance of developing a peace-oriented society. The ensuing discussion focused on how to promote reconciliation among diverse ethnic communities through cultural activities, education, independent media, environmental protection and a market-based economy.
As we survey the Balkan region, positive developments are clearly discernible in certain areas. As to Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the ministerial meeting of the Peace Implementation Council that was held at Brussels in May, the importance of economic reform, the repatriation of refugees and displaced persons, and the establishment and strengthening of common institutions was reaffirmed. In that connection, I wish to express my delegation's support for the active efforts which Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, has made in each of these important areas.
Although there continues to be an international military and civilian presence in the region, as again authorized by the Security Council on 21 June, it cannot remain there indefinitely. Japan shares with Mr. Petritsch the view that it is important for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves to make greater efforts to assume "ownership" of the peace process. Only in that way can lasting peace and security be achieved.
In Kosovo, although Japan appreciates the progress which the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo has so far achieved, several problems still remain. Japan cannot condone the acts of intolerance by nationalistic extremists against other ethnic groups. Japan attaches great importance to the municipal election planned for this autumn in order to establish a democratic, multi-ethnic society in Kosovo, and it calls upon the Serb community to cooperate. We also call upon the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to cooperate in registering the Serbian population to enable them to participate in the election.
Finally, concerning the situation in Croatia, we welcome the victory in the recent election by political parties that emphasized cooperation with the international community, and we earnestly hope that this development will have ramifications in the neighbouring countries.
Japan has contributed to the stability and development of the Balkan region through its financial assistance. In 1996, Japan pledged about $500 million for economic rehabilitation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has been working steadily to implement that assistance. In addition, Japan has already disbursed a total of approximately $177 million for assistance to Kosovo and has also pledged $60 million to neighbouring countries. We intend to continue to remain actively engaged in international efforts to enhance peace and stability throughout the Balkan region.
I cannot conclude my remarks without commenting on the situation in the Republic of Serbia. Despite the progress that has been made in various parts of the Balkan region, it must be recognized that the further development of those areas cannot be attained without the democratization of Serbia. I believe, therefore, that it is incumbent upon the international community to cooperate in fostering democracy in Serbia; only then will lasting peace and stability prevail throughout the Balkan region.
Ten speakers remain to be heard, which is evidence of the importance of this debate. I propose to suspend the meeting now, and to resume our consideration of the item on the agenda at 2.30 p.m. sharp.