UN / KOSOVO

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17-Dec-2018 00:04:02
UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said it was “crucial that Belgrade and Pristina avoid any steps that could further worsen the situation” following a series of steps that have heightened tensions in the region and called on both sides to “find ways to re-engage in the dialogue aimed at the normalization of their mutual relations.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / KOSOVO
TRT: 4:02
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / RUSSIAN / ALBANIAN / NATS

DATELINE: NOVEMBER 2018, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

NOVEMBER 2018, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. Zoom in, Serbian President joining Security Council meeting
4. Med shot, delegates
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations:
“The recent developments in Kosovo have further deteriorated relations between Belgrade and Pristina, which have been strained for some time with no progress on the EU-facilitated dialogue. We are concerned at the risk of tensions on the ground, particularly in northern Kosovo. It is therefore crucial that Belgrade and Pristina avoid any steps that could further worsen the situation, but rather find ways to reengage in the dialogue aimed at the normalization of their mutual relations.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Aleksandar Vučić, President, Serbia:
“And I just wanted to tell you that Serbia has always been doing everything to keep stability, to maintain tranquillity and peace in the entire region. We will refrain ourselves of doing wrong steps in the future as well because we suffered a lot in the past and we don’t have more kids to spend in different types of wars, hostilities, and clashes. But we beg all of you – it’s my biggest plea tonight – just someone has to curb, someone has to tame, those people because measures that they have taken recently are something that is not coherent with the 21st century.”
8. Med shot, Lacroix and Thaci
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Aleksandar Vučić, President, Serbia:
“We’ll resume, we’ll carry on our dialogue as soon as they withdraw their irresponsible decision on those tariffs. I’m not very optimistic and I’m just saying to all of you that my concerns and my worries are even bigger today than they were yesterday.”
10. Med shot, delegates
11. SOUNDBITE (Albanian) Hachim Thaci, Representative of Kosov:
“Nothing extraordinary happened in Kosovo last week. In fact, what happened is a normal decision, just in its mission and purpose. If Kosovo has made a mistake, it has done so in unnecessarily waiting for five years to establish its Army.”
12. Med shot, Serbian President
13. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“Against this backdrop, the emergence of the armed forces of Kosovo represents a threat to peace and security in the region which could lead to the repeat of the armed conflict. The undermining of resolution 1244 is taking place not only with the direct neglect, but with the knowledge and support of leading western countries including in the framework of the international security presence, the KFOR, which is located in the region based on resolution 1244.”
14. Wide shot, European ambassadors at stakeout
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Karel Jan Gustaaf van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations:
“The initiation of the process of transition of the Kosovo Security Force is Kosovo’s sovereign right. We take note of its commitment to gradually transform its security force in close coordination with NATO and its partners. We call on the Kosovo authorities to make the transition of the Kosovo Security Force in the next ten years a transparent and inclusive process, associating all communities and to avoid any detrimental impact to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.”
16. Pan right, European ambassadors leaving stakeout

STORYLINE:

UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said it was “crucial that Belgrade and Pristina avoid any steps that could further worsen the situation” following a series of steps that have heightened tensions in the region and called on both sides to “find ways to re-engage in the dialogue aimed at the normalization of their mutual relations.”

Lacroix told the Security Council today (17 Dec) that following Kosovo’s failed bid to join INTERPOL, the government of Kosovo announced an increase of the tariff on goods imported from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from ten to 100 percent. Belgrade, for its part, stated that Pristina had violated the Central European Free Trade Agreement and stressed that it would only resume its involvement in the EU-facilitated dialogue once Pristina revokes the import tax. Furthermore, He said Kosovo adopted three laws on 14 December which made substantial changes, to be implemented over a period of time, to the mandate, role and strength of the Kosovo Security Force.

The peacekeeping chief expressed concern at “the risk of tensions on the ground, particularly in northern Kosovo.” He added, “It is therefore crucial that Belgrade and Pristina avoid any steps that could further worsen the situation, but rather find ways to reengage in the dialogue aimed at the normalization of their mutual relations.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić expressed worry over the future of the region adding that his country “has always been doing everything to keep stability, to maintain tranquillity and peace in the entire region.” He added that Serbia would refrain from “doing wrong steps in the future as well, because [it] suffered a lot in the past and [doesn’t] have more kids to spend in different types of wars, hostilities, and clashes.” Vučić added, “But we beg all of you – it’s my biggest plea tonight – just someone has to curb, someone has to tame, those people because measures that they have taken recently are something that is not coherent with the 21st century.”

The Serbian President said the tariffs implemented by Pristina killed trade between Central Serbia and Kosovo and put the entire Serbian community in Kosovo in jeopardy. He said Serbia had no obligation to support Kosovo in its attempts to join international organizations adding that the country remained the only sovereign nation over the region according to the UN.

Vučić said Belgrade would resume dialogue with Pristina “as soon as they withdraw their irresponsible decision on those tariffs.” He told the Council that he was “not very optimistic” adding that his “worries are even bigger today than they were yesterday.”

Kosovar leader Hachim Thaci said, “Nothing extraordinary happened in Kosovo last week. In fact, what happened is a normal decision, just in its mission and purpose. If Kosovo has made a mistake, it has done so in unnecessarily waiting for five years to establish its Army.” He said the decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) made it clear that Kosovo did not violate any international laws when it declared its independence, and as such, it was Kosovo's indisputable right to have an army.

Thaci said the transformation of the Kosovo Security Force was not a step which Pristina undertook as a message against anyone. He said the problem Belgrade had was not Kosovo's army, but rather the existence of Kosovo itself as an independent and sovereign state, which made the dialogue between the two sides crucial.

Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya expressed concern about what he described as the lawlessness around the decision to create a Kosovar army and the support it has received from EU members. He said against the backdrop of recent events, “the emergence of the armed forces of Kosovo represents a threat to peace and security in the region which could lead to the repeat of the armed conflict.” He said the undermining of resolution 1244 was taking place “not only with the direct neglect, but with the knowledge and support of leading western countries including in the framework of the international security presence, the KFOR, which is located in the region based on resolution 1244.”

Earlier today, European ambassadors made a statement to reporters in which they described the initiation of the process of transition of the Kosovo Security Force as “Kosovo’s sovereign right.” The statement, which was read by Dutch ambassador Karel van Oosterom on behalf of former, current, and incoming members of the Security Council from the European Union, took note of Kosovo’s “commitment to gradually transform its security force in close coordination with NATO and its partners.” The European ambassadors called on the Kosovo authorities “to make the transition of the Kosovo Security Force in the next ten years a transparent and inclusive process, associating all communities and to avoid any detrimental impact to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.”

It called on both sides to exercise restraint, lower tensions, and create the conditions to resume their dialogue as facilitated by the EU as soon as possible. The statement added that a binding agreement addressing all issues between Belgrade and Pristina should remain the key priority.
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