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UNSC Meeting on Kosmet: Members call for probe into allegations of trafficking in human organs

17. February 2011. | 07:07

Source: Emg.rs

“There will be no long-term stability and development of Kosovo without a successful process of reconciliation among the communities,” said Lamberto Zannier, who is also the Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

There was a pressing need to launch the internationally-mandated dialogue between authorities in Kosovo and Serbia, long delayed by political turmoil in Kosovo, and to work towards viable cooperation on peace and security as well as other critical issues facing the region, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council today.

“There will be no long-term stability and development of Kosovo without a successful process of reconciliation among the communities,” said Lamberto Zannier, who is also the Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report on the situation, he said Belgrade had already stressed its readiness to begin the European Union-facilitated dialogue, called for by the United Nations General Assembly.

He welcomed statements by the authorities in Pristina that they would be ready to engage in the process and pledged UNMIK’s continuing commitment to work closely with the European Union in advancing it.

“Political instability and uncertainty have characterized the three-month reporting period,” he said, noting that the security situation in Kosovo remained stable, through threatened by unresolved issues.

In December, the Kosovo authorities had organized the first Assembly elections not held within the framework of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and in which UNMIK had played no role, he recalled. However, participation by Kosovo Serbs had increased except in the north, he said, adding that the authorities had addressed widespread irregularities reported by observers.

He went on to state that a report by the Rapporteur of the Council of Europe concerning allegations of organized criminal activities by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, including trafficking in illegal organs, must be followed immediately by an investigation.

The European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) was ready to undertake a probe, he added. Beyond those issues, fiscal difficulties were mounting, he said, urging all stakeholders to seek solutions.

A chilling effect on returns by displaced persons had been brought about by recent attacks on minority returnees, he continued, describing other acts of violence that had occurred in northern Mitrovica.

UNMIK continued to engage closely with communities there, but there was a decrease in cooperation with the Mission in other areas, as well as continued targeting of UNMIK staff by Pristina-based media.

Nevertheless, the Mission would continue its attempts to engage in proactive mediation between the communities and to link leaders in northern Kosovo with the Pristina authorities, in addition to promoting economic development and stability, in close cooperation with the United Nations Kosovo team and other partners on the ground.

Vuk Jeremić, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, reaffirmed his country’s support for UNMIK as an indispensable pillar of peace and stability, as well as his Government’s position that the unilateral declaration of independence by the ethnic Albanian authorities of the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija was “null and void” and would never be recognized.

However, he also affirmed Serbia’s dedication to resolving all differences at the negotiating table and the importance of the Assembly-mandated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

On the allegations of human-organ trafficking, he called for a thorough and independent investigation, while pointing to other crimes in Kosovo and saying that the roots of democracy had not yet taken hold there.

He criticized the conduct of the recent elections, and pointed to the low numbers of returns by displaced ethnic Serbs, expressing hope that a way could be found to empower Kosovo Serbs to exercise their right of return, immediately and unconditionally. He also discussed issues of Serbian cultural and religious heritage, saying there was still a culture of impunity in regard to ethnic attacks.

Taking the floor next, Vlora Çitaku of Kosovo described the progress made in the three years since the declaration of independence.

The opinion of the International Court of Justice had been “a giant final step in a long and torturous process of defining Kosovo’s final status”, ending decades of injustice capped off by tragedy, she said, pointing also to planned reductions in the Kosovo multinational security force (KFOR) as evidence that Kosovo had turned out to be an international success story.

She admitted, however, that Kosovo had “experienced a challenging time during the last couple of months”, including the resignation of the former president.

The ensuing campaign and elections showed that the system functioned, as all complaints had been in accordance with due process and, in the end, all parties, including a large percentage of Serbs and other minorities, had accepted the results.

She rejected the allegations of trafficking in organs, but expressed support for an investigation owing to the seriousness of the accusations. She also supported the start of dialogue with Belgrade, saying she hoped it would lead to Serbia treating Kosovo as an equal partner in tackling the challenges they both faced.

Following those presentations, representatives of all 15 Council members all welcomed UNMIK’s continuing role and supporting the start of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue as soon as possible.

However, members differed on whether the Council should mandate an investigation into the allegations of trafficking in human organs, an option supported by the representatives of the Russian Federation and Gabon, who also strongly expressed their regret that the recent elections had been held outside the framework of resolution 1244 (1999) and the administrating authority of UNMIK.


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14. February - 20. February 2011.