STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ILDEM IN RESPONSE TO THE ADDRESS BY AMB. WERNER ALMHOFER THE HEAD OF MISSION IN KOSOVO

Tacan İldem 06.09.2012
Mr. Chairman,

I would like to join the previous speakers in warmly welcoming Ambassador Almhofer back to the Permanent Council and thanking him for his comprehensive presentation.

We remain strongly attached to the objective to achieve a stable Kosovo with sound institutions and multiethnic harmony, on the basis of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Turkey welcomes the progress Kosovo has made to this end and commend the contributions of OMIK in assisting and encouraging this process.

The developments in Kosovo in recent years denote that contributions and commitments of the international community are crucial for the peace and stability in Kosovo. With this understanding, we believe that the Mission's pivotal position emanating from the unique strength of the OSCE is a significant asset in complementing the works of the other international actors.

We welcome OMIK’s activities in the promotion of human rights and good governance. Let me particularly emphasize today its support to the democratization process, outreach to non-Albanian communities as well as its role in guiding the electoral and judicial reform. Support to the efforts of the Government of Kosovo in protecting and improving the rights of the non-majority communities is also commendable. Active engagement of these communities in Kosovo’s political and socio-economic life will contribute in bolstering the democratic, multi-ethnic and modern structure of the state institutions of Kosovo. In this respect, we have no doubt that the Government of Kosovo will spare no effort in furthering the consolidation of rights of these communities and their implementation. Activities of the mission in the preservation of the cultural and religious heritage are also essential.

In the period ahead, Turkey will pursue its support the activities of OMIK. The effort of the Turkish National Police, which has been contributing to the capacity building of the Kosovo Police through a well-established cooperation with the Mission, will remain one of the prominent dimensions of our support.

The ongoing cooperation of OMIK with other Missions in the region, Mission to Serbia in particular, is another welcome activity on our side. Joint activities organized by these Missions bringing representatives and people together from different communities should continue and can be a source of inspiration for other OSCE missions.

This spirit of cooperation was also demonstrated during the facilitation of Kosovo Serbs’ participation in the Serbian Presidential and Parliamentary election in May 2012. This endeavors once again proved the important contributions that our field Missions make and highlighted the comparative advantages and value-added of our Organization in international efforts.

We believe that ongoing issues between Belgrade and Pristine can only be resolved through dialogue. In this regard, continuation of Pristine-Belgrade dialogue is paramount to sustain and advance positive results achieved so far during the process. Underscoring the importance of the full implementation of the said agreements, Turkey will continue to support the dialogue process to reach sustainable solutions concerning existing issues.

Finally, as it is his last appearance at the Permanent Council, I would like to thank Ambassador Almhofer for his dedicated work and success in leading his excellent team, and wish him our best in his future undertakings.

Thank you.