Statement By Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representatıve Of Turkey, In Response To The Report Of Ambassador Schlumberger, Head Of Mıssıon In Kosovo At The 940th Permanent Councıl

Tacan İLDEM 07.02.2013
Thank you Mr. Chairperson,

I join the previous speakers in welcoming Ambassador Schlumberger in his first appearance at the Permanent Council in his capacity as the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and would like to express my thanks for his presentation.

Turkey welcomes the steady progress made in Kosovo towards the enhancement of security, stability and the promotion of culture of reconciliation together with the maintenance of multiethnic, cultural and religious harmony. Indeed Kosovo has come a long way since it has embarked upon the path to become a modern democratic state on the bases of rule of law and international norms.

Turkey believes that the international presence, especially in Kosovo, is important and necessary both for the strengthening of the state structures in these countries and regional stability. It is with this understanding that Turkey, contributes to all international presences and initiatives in the region. In this vein, we strongly support the continuation of the efforts of the OSCE in particular towards the development of Kosovo. The OSCE with its toolbox and facilities at its disposal is assuming one of the leading roles in this respect and has a lot to offer for the future activities and potential cooperation among the international actors and the state institutions of Kosovo.

We particularly appreciate the contributions of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo (OMIK) in its wide spectrum of activities and especially in the areas of protection of human rights, inter-ethnic dialogue, support to the electoral process, civil society, fight against drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime.

Turkey contributes to OMİK also through the Turkish National Police that is active among others in capacity building of the Kosovo Police. Needless to say that we are ready to continue sharing our experience in this respect in future as well.

We also appreciate the intensive outreach of OMIK to non-Albanian communities and its support to the Government of Kosovo in protecting and improving the rights of those communities. It is beyond doubt that 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.

Mr. Chairperson,

While we note that the situation in northern Kosovo during the reporting period was relatively calm, the unfortunate attack targeting the security forces is a clear indication that the situation is still fragile. This was unfortunately confirmed with the incident which took place on February 5, in northern Mitrovica involving an assailant throwing a hand grenade at a house, injuring two children. We condemn this unfortunate attack and believe that the way to overcome the existing differences passes through dialogue and a constructive cooperation among the parties concerned.

On the other hand, we are pleased to see that the spirit of cooperation emanating from the ongoing Pristine-Belgrade dialogue presents itself on the implementation of the Integrated Border Management (IBM) Agreement. Underscoring the importance of the dialogue process, Turkey will continue to support the process to reach sustainable solutions for the existing issues.

We remain in constant dialogue with all parties and fruitful discussions were held during the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs’ latest visit to Serbia on February 1st, as well as the recent visit of President Nikolic of Serbia to Turkey on February 4-5. During talks, the importance of progress regarding the dialogue process and the intention of continuation of the support provided to the process was underlined.

The latest reports for the wider region shows that efforts to build peace and stability should be sustained and this will require vigilance from all OSCE missions in the region as well.

In conclusion, I would like to wish Ambassador Schlumberger and his able team every success in the continuation of their important work.

Thank you.