|Updated: 12-Jul-2005||NATO Speeches|
12 July 2005
by NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
JAMES APPATHURAI (NATO Spokesman): Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary General and the SRSG will each make brief opening statements, and we'll have time for questions. Secretary General.
JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (Secretary General of NATO): Thank you, good afternoon to all of you. It was a pleasure, once again, as always, to have a discussion with the SRSG Mr. Soren Jessen-Petersen in this very important time for Kosovo.
I restated, of course--and that will come as no surprise to you--that NATO and KFOR is in full support... was, is and will remain in full support of the important work which is being done at the moment in Kosovo by Mr. Jessen-Petersen; also by Kai Eide as far as the standards implementation process is concerned. KFOR is there, KFOR will do everything it can to create the security and stability necessary in Kosovo to have this process to take its course.
It is clear that also NATO and KFOR, being involved in the Contact Group Plus, has a stake in the way this political process evolves; has a stake in the outcome of this political process; has a stake in Mr. Jessen-Petersen's work and Ambassador Eide's work, and also has a stake in preventing language, from all sides, which make the process even more difficult than it already is. So my call also as a NATO Secretary General to all concerned is moderation in public language they use, because I think that is conducive to the political process we have.
I can be short. I'm here to support, NATO's here to support Soren Jessen-Petersen. We'll... I've heard, of course, about the present state of play, heard about standards implementation. We'll keep in touch. KFOR is there. General Yves de Kermabon, the very able and competent commander of KFOR is there. We are in regular touch and NATO will do everything it can in KFOR to create the conditions for this process to continue very positively.
You know I'm going to Belgrade next Monday. I'll speak, of course, about the relationship with NATO, but without any doubt Kosovo will also be a subject for discussion. It is very important--let me repeat what I said to you many times before--that the Kosovo Serbs participate fully in the process in Kosovo, that Belgrade, the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is an important element; that Belgrade and the people in Belgrade stimulate the K-Serbs to participate. In other words, Belgrade plays, of course, a very important role, has stakes in this whole process, so Mr. Jessen-Petersen's visit came at the appropriate moment also in that respect.
My key message is: KFOR is there, and KFOR is there to make it possible politically what Mr. Jessen-Petersen and Kai Eide are doing at the moment.
Thank you very much.
SOREN JESSEN-PETERSEN (Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo): Thank you Secretary General. I certainly also welcome this opportunity at this another crucial time, on the process in Kosovo to meet with the Secretary General and I can only also use this opportunity to say, not only is it good to hear that we can count on KFOR, but it would be very appropriate to convey my thanks.
KFOR is indeed there. KFOR is indeed doing a superb job in maintaining a safe and secure environment. And that is the foundation for the political process to move forward. And more important than ever, because we are now with the comprehensive review on the way, being undertaken by Ambassador Eide. We have now reached another step in the process that will move us towards the end game, the beginning of talks on the stages of Kosovo.
It is no secret, as we get closer to that final goal, which was always the goal of the UNMIK mission, Security Council Resolution 1244. As we get closer the political stakes are rising. And with the political stakes rising we are seeing tension rising and we are seeing risks increasing. And in that situation more than ever we have to work closely together, UNMIK and KFOR, with the local authorities, to make sure that the stable and secure environment is there, and thanks to this close collaboration I think we have seen a significant improvement in the security situation over the last 12, 15 months; despite incidents which are, of course worrying, and which we're working on.
I would just conclude by saying that in relation to the Secretary General's forthcoming visit to Belgrade, I did have an opportunity to share my concern with the Secretary General that we are seeing a certain slowdown in progress of standards implementation linked to three key areas: decentralization, return of displaced, and freedom of movement.
In order to accelerate progress we need to see a stronger commitment on the part of the provisional institutions in Kosovo, but we also need to see better cooperation from Belgrade. We need Belgrade's clear statement encouraging the Kosovo Serb to be part of this dialogue, to be part of the process, because without the direct involvement of Kosovo Serbs I'm concerned that there will be limits to how much progress we can make on decentralization, on freedom of movement, on return of displaced persons. So I'm certainly also grateful to hear that the Secretary General will also be discussing that issue in Belgrade.
Q: A question for both Secretary General and for Mr. Petersen. Is NATO involved in an investigation about the last bombings in Kosovo, having in mind that Mr. Petersen said that KFOR is doing an excellent job, how far those investigations have gone?
And for Secretary General, you are calling both sides for moderation in their public statement. We haven't heard Kosovo leaders saying anything different that they said in last ten years, so what kind of statements you are referring to?
JESSEN-PETERSEN: Just on the incidents, that's clearly a police matter. It is a police investigation, which is under way, by UNMIK police working very close with the Kosovo police services. We have once again been calling for people to come forward, helping us with information on these three bombing incidents within 25 minutes. But that investigation is under way. It is, as I say, a police responsibility.
We (inaudible) to keep KFOR very, very closely informed about any progress, but this is our responsibility, and we must work very hard to also see some results of these investigations. That would be very helpful in our efforts to prevent and contain any further similar incidents.
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: It is also good to repeat useful messages and that's what I've done, and the ones who feel that I'm addressing them... I'm addressing myself to them, they may draw the right conclusions. But it's a useful message, I think, in general to ask everybody and anybody to refrain from statements which might harm the political process.
Q: I have a question for Mr. Petersen. About the incidents that happened a few days ago, that was against the local and international institution as well in the northern part of Mitrovica... of Kosovo. Do you feel that these kind of incidents which apparently are in order to increase in the coming days, do you feel that these incidents might have an impact on the overall assessment of the standards?
JESSEN-PETERSEN: No. First of all, we do not evidently know what are the motives. There are different theories. I will not speculate. Secondly, I didn't say that I expect this to increase, I didn't say that, but I can tell you my message immediately Saturday evening after it happened and Sunday morning, was that this is not supported by the large majority of citizens in Kosovo and it will not stop us from pushing forward on standards implementation, which is also what the large majority of citizens in Kosovo wants.
So this will not deter us, it will not stop us. But at the same time, we are, of course, concerned and we will continue doing whatever we can to investigate, find the results, and also prevent any future incidents.
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Thank you.
JESSEN-PETERSEN: Thank you very much.