|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN Security Council Briefing on UNMIK|
I welcome the presence of the Foreign Minister of Serbia, His Excellency Mr. Selakovic. I also listened attentively to the briefing by SRSG Ziadeh and the remarks by Ms. Schwarz.
Since June this year, the Kosovo authorities have taken unilateral actions on issues such as identity documents and vehicle license plates, which have led to several severe escalations in northern Kosovo, disrupting the process of normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo, and impacting security and stability in the Balkans and Southeast Europe. China expresses its concern. Under the auspices of the relevant parties, the two sides have finally reached an agreement on the issue of identity documents. China welcomes this development, and in particular, China commends the constructive attitude demonstrated by Serbia. Pristina's demand is to complete the replacement of vehicle licence plates by the end of this month. This may once again trigger protests, even clashes and aggravate tensions between the two sides. Such a situation must be avoided. We support the two sides, under the coordination of the EU, to engage with each other to continue the consultation on the license plates issue. We call upon both sides and the Kosovo authorities in particular, to exercise restraint, actively cooperate with the mediation of the EU, bearing in mind the overall interests of maintaining security and stability in Europe, and refrain from taking unilateral actions once again.
Dialogue and consultation are the right way to address the Kosovo issue. We are pleased to see the meeting in Brussels this year, between Serbia and Kosovo, produced positive results. Under the auspices of the EU, the two sides reached a roadmap for the implementation of the energy agreement. China encourages both sides to continue to engage with each other in a pragmatic and constructive way, and implement the outcome of the previous negotiations. Kosovo should under the provisions of the Brussels agreement advance the establishment Community Association of Serb majority municipalities.
The harmonious coexistence of all ethnic groups is a fundamental prerequisite for achieving stability in Kosovo. For many years, the unity and mutual trust of all communities in Kosovo have been in a fragile state. Recently, there have been a number of incidents against ethnic minorities and their religious sites in Kosovo, including thefts and attacks. China hopes the Kosovo authorities will take effective measures to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, so as to guarantee the security and the limited rights and interests of all ethnic groups in Kosovo, including the Serbs.
The presence of the United Nations is a strong guarantee towards the settlement of the Kosovo issue, which is sensitive and complex. In recent years, there have been persistent tensions that have also escalated, posing a potential risk to the security of Europe. Under such circumstances, the Security Council should sustain its focus and its attention on the Kosovo issue. The SRSG and UNMIK should continue to work actively in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1244, effectively carry out their mandates, and play a constructive role in maintaining regional stability, promoting national reconciliation, and facilitating dialogue between the two sides.
China's position on the Kosovo issue has been consistently clear, with support to all parties concerned to work with each other within the framework of Security Council Resolution 1244 in order to reach a mutually acceptable political solution through sincere dialogue. In this process, Serbia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity should be fully respected.
Thank you, Mr. President.