IN RESPONSE TO THE ADDRESS BY AMB. WERNER ALMHOFER, THE HEAD OF OSCE MISSION IN KOSOVO

Tacan İLDEM 02.02.2012
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TACAN İLDEM,
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TURKEY
IN RESPONSE TO THE ADDRESS BY AMB. WERNER ALMHOFER, THE HEAD OF MISSION IN KOSOVO
900 th PERMANENT COUNCIL
2 February 2012

Mr. Chairman,

I join my colleagues who have spoken before me in warmly welcoming Ambassador Almhofer back to the Permanent Council and in thanking him for his comprehensive and insightful presentation.

The Mission, being the largest OSCE field presence, has a critical role in efforts to enhance democratic institutions, stability and multiethnic harmony in Kosovo. We appreciate the contributions of the Mission, in ensuring that the rights of all communities are respected, in democratic institution building and in enhancing public safety. The Turkish National Police has been contributing to the capacity building of the Kosovo Police through a well established cooperation with the Mission and we are ready to share our experience in the future as well.

We welcome the efforts of the Mission on the protection of human rights and communities, including supporting the municipal offices for communities and returns, the protection of cultural heritage and promoting access to quality education, as well as electoral and judicial reform and community policing. We are also pleased to observe that the ongoing cooperation with the Mission in Serbia is instrumental in bringing representatives from different professions together, thereby contributing to the dialogue between the two societies.

On this occasion, I would like to note with appreciation the reports that the Mission, and through it, the OSCE, with its intense outreach to local population is perceived as a trusted and impartial international partner by different communities in the country. We congratulate the Mission and the Secretariat for this achievement.

In recent years, Kosovo has made remarkable progress towards being a full-fledged state and, despite current shortcomings, proved its capacity to fulfill the role of a credible member of the international community. Enduring peace and stability in the Balkans can be further achieved by advocating more involvement and integration of Kosovo into the regional affairs, in particular when it comes to confronting common challenges such as fight against organized crime and corruption, promotion of rule of law and strengthening democratic institutions.

Promoting security, stability and a culture of conciliation, as well as the maintenance of the multiethnic, cultural and religious structure both in Kosovo as well as in the region as a whole is of critical importance.

In this regard, we also welcome the positive results achieved so far during the dialogue process between Pristine and Belgrade, especially the recent agreements regarding the integrated border management and freedom of movement. Turkey will continue to support the process which we hope will produce further concrete outcomes.

Besides these positive developments, the unfortunate incidents at the two border gates and the unacceptable use of force against the KFOR personnel during the reporting period were an indication of how fragile the situation can get in a short period of time. We believe that the way to resolve the existing differences passes through dialogue and express our expectation from all the parties to act with restraint and engage in a constructive cooperation with KFOR and EULEX.

In conclusion, I would like to wish Ambassador Almhofer and his able team every success in their work.

Thank you.