Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in Response to the Report of Ambassador Schlumberger, Head of Mission in Kosovo, at the 964th Permanent Council

Tacan İLDEM 05.09.2013
Thank you Mr. Chairperson,

I join the previous speakers in welcoming Ambassador Schlumberger back to the Permanent Council, and thanking him for his comprehensive report.

As clearly highlighted in the report, the progress achieved in the Belgrade-Prishtina Dialogue process and the conclusion of the “First Agreement of Principles Governing the Normalization of Relations” followed by an agreement on a respective Implementation Plan are all pleasing developments. I wish to commend the Mission’s contributions and efforts on these matters. On our part, we attach particular importance to the Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue process and remain ready to make any contribution to ongoing efforts in this respect.

When international efforts are in tandem with domestic politics, it is always much easier to attain the pre-defined objectives and goals. Within the Kosovar framework, the enhancement of security and stability, coupled with the effective promotion of a culture of reconciliation together with the maintenance of multiethnic, cultural and religious harmony are key factors to be underlined. I also would like to seize this opportunity to recognize such important on-going activities as the interethnic dialogue and tolerance, as well as the Mission’s activities aimed at increasing opportunities for communities’ effective participation in public life, equitable access to services and public utilities, capacity building programmes for municipal officials, establishment of an informal civil society platform as well as monitoring and advocating property, housing and cultural heritage rights of non-Albanian communities.

In this context, allow me to reiterate once again our appreciation for OMIK’s intensive outreach to non-Albanian communities and the support it gives to the Government of Kosovo in protecting and improving the rights of all ethnic groups. It is beyond doubt that active engagement of different communities in Kosovo’s political and socio-economic life will help bolster efforts to establish a democratic, multi-ethnic and modern state structure. Efforts towards the objective of endowing all communities with better access to policy making, remains a top priority for overall success. The level of participation of Northern Kosovars in the 3 November local elections will constitute a useful benchmark for assessing the progress achieved so far in this regard.

Mr. Chairperson,

Turkey believes that the international presence in Kosovo is important and necessary not only for strengthening the state structures but for the sake of regional stability. As a result, we have been contributing to all international efforts on the ground and, in this vein, strongly support and appreciate OMIK’s significant input. As you are already aware, we contribute to OMIK also through the Turkish National Police that is active, inter alia, in capacity building of the Kosovo Police.

Before concluding, I deem it important to recognize the long way that Kosovo has come since it embarked upon the path to become a modern democratic state on the basis of the rule of law and international norms. For the sustenance of this positive trend and to bolster regional development and prosperity, we should pay due attention and care to maximize Kosovo’s inclusion and involvement in regional and international initiatives and projects. We are more than convinced that this will serve the interest of all parties concerned.

As a final note, I would like to wish Ambassador Schlumberger and his able team continued success in their work.

Thank you.