Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene Richard-Gasana, at the Security Council open debate on terrorism and transnational organized crime

Your Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chad and President of the Security Council,


I thank you, Mr. President, for convening this open debate on “Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime”. We commend you for the choice of this particular topic, at a time when terrorism and violent extremism continue to challenge the resolve and efforts of the international community. I thank Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, for his briefing and for his able coordination of UN system initiatives against terrorism and transnational organized crimes. I also thank Ambassador Antonio Tete, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the UN, for his briefing and Rwanda aligns itself with his statement on behalf of the AU.

Mr. President,

We have noted that, despite various findings on the intersection between terrorism and transnational organized crime in the last decade, there isn’t a dedicated Security Council forum to discuss both topics jointly. As Rwanda, we believe that effective strategies to tackle one should be responsive to the strategies to tackle the other.

Organized crime such as wildlife trafficking in the Central African region, in particular the Central African Republic, maritime piracy, drug trafficking in northern Mali, kidnapping for ransom, illicit trade of charcoal involving Al- Shabaab, illegal mineral trade by armed groups, including the genocidaire FDLR in the DRC, as well as oil smuggling by ISIL and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, has become a lifeline for terrorist organizations. Even more worrying is the contribution of organized crimes to the instability of countries emerging from conflict and to the collapse of fragile states. In Africa, this is true from the East to Western African coasts, where organized crime has undermined governance and accountability structures, creating a breeding ground for terrorist organizations.

It is important that we enhance capacity of national law-enforcement and counterterrorism institutions and ensure a strong coordination and collaboration of all stakeholders, if we are to succeed in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime. In this regard, I hope that the Secretary-General report, requested by the just-adopted resolution 2195, will enable this Council to make a comprehensive assessment of the nexus between terrorism and transnational organized crime, consider its impact on conflict prevention and conflict resolution efforts, particularly in Africa; and make concrete proposals on effective measures required to deal with this issue.

We welcome the Nouakchott Declaration, adopted yesterday, during the first Summit of countries participating in the Nouakchott process on the enhancement and the operationalization of security cooperation and the operationalization of the African Peace and security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharan Region. This Declaration stressed the importance of exchange of information and intelligence in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime. In this respect, the collaboration of the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and the Committee on Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) is critical to eradicate both scourges on the African continent.

Mr. President,

Border security and management remains one of the core challenges for countries facing the most imminent threat of terrorist attacks, particularly in Africa. Therefore, the lack of adequate capacity to effectively control border security and management easily fuels transnational organized crime and unhindered movement of terrorist groups, with their negative impacts on State authority and sovereignty.  In this context, it is encouraging to note that the Matrix of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) on UN Counter-Terrorism Projects features prominently important projects addressing the issue of border security and management globally and on the African continent.

However, more work needs to be done, including by this Council. We need to use existing Security Council mandates and tools to analytically address organizational and operational connections between networks of transnational organized crime and those of international terrorist organizations. This exercise could provide opportunities to disrupt global criminal activities and pre-empt terrorist operations. To achieve this, inter-states and regional cooperation assistance would be crucial, since it would require among other issues, information sharing and common methods of intelligence gathering and analysis.

Mr. President,

Organized crimes and terrorism have plagued some of the areas the UN has deployed its peacekeeping or special political missions. And in most cases, these missions have neither the mandate nor the required capacities to deal with these scourges. This is the case for AMISOM in Somalia and MINUSMA in Mali. It is therefore critical to tailor specific UN peacekeeping mandates to specific situations, taking into account of the scope of terrorism threat. Meanwhile, we look forward to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on Peacekeeping Operations that was appointed by the Secretary General. We believe that the Secretary-General Report, expected mid- 2015, would guide the Council on ways to reorient its focus for its future peacekeeping operations mandates, taking into consideration new emerging threats, including terrorism and violent extremism.

Finally, Mr. President, we believe that this debate should remain open for future in-depth exchange between the Council and Troop and Police Contributing Countries, considering the political landscapes and geographical presence of UN peacekeeping operations throughout the world.

I thank you.


Statement by Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the UN Security Council briefing on the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee

In accordance with paragraph 24(e) of Security Council resolution 1970 (2011) of 26 February 2011, I have the honour to report to the Security Council on the work of the Committee established by the same resolution. The report covers the period from 16 September to 17 December 2014, during which time the members of the Committee met once in a formal meeting.

Mr. President, at the outset, I would like to observe that the Committee has been reaching out to Member States more actively than usual during the past three months.

Let me begin with Committee action in follow-up to the interim report of the Panel of Experts. In my last report, I mentioned that the Committee had agreed to follow up on 15 of the Panel’s recommendations. Accordingly, the Committee took the following steps.

On 25 September the Committee issued a Note Verbale to all Member States, drawing attention to the new approval requirement for arms supplies to the Libyan government introduced by resolution 2174 (2014), to the high risk of diversion and misuse of arms in Libya, and to post-delivery requirements as laid out in the updated Implementation Assistance Notice no. 2.

On 26 September, the Committee updated several entries on its Sanctions List.

On 30 September, the Committee sent a letter to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNSMIL, Mr. Bernardino León, requesting his assistance in facilitating the Panel’s access to Libya.

On 2 October, the Committee sent a letter to the Permanent Representative of Libya to the United Nations, bringing to his attention five of the Panel’s recommendations, including procedures to strengthening communication between the Libyan authorities on the one side and the Panel and the Committee on the other.

Also on 2 October, the Committee sent a letter to Algeria requesting information on a listed individual. On 8 October, the Committee sent a letter to Oman, in connection with the travel ban measure, to which Oman responded on 24 October.

On 10 October, the Committee issued a Note Verbale to all Member States, drawing attention to the additional designation criteria set out in resolution 2174 (2014) and encouraging Member States to submit information regarding individuals and entities who met those criteria, as well as information on individuals currently inscribed on the Committee’s Sanctions List.

On 13 October, the Committee issued a press release providing guidance on arms embargo related matters, including to end-users of exempted materiel in Libya and to Member States regarding the regulation of supplies of arms and related materiel to Libya that are sold by private entities.

On 24 November, the Committee updated its Implementation Assistance Notice no. 3 relating to inspections and seizures of arms and related materiel, undertaken by Member States in implementation of the arms embargo measure.

Mr. President, let me now report on the Committee’s activities in follow-up to information and requests received by the Panel or Member States.

On 16 and 24 September, respectively, the Committee sent letters to the Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of Libya and Sudan, respectively, as a follow-up to a public statement by the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding deliveries of ammunition to Libya, and to a subsequent letter from the Permanent Representative of Sudan addressed to the Committee regarding the delivery of “logistical military supplies” to Libya.

On 23 October, the Committee sent a letter to a Member State, as a follow-up to a note verbale dated 20 October from the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations regarding an arms embargo matter. The Member State in question responded to the Committee by note verbale dated 5 December, and the information contained therein will be conveyed to the Permanent Mission of Libya shortly.

Mr. President, on 14 November the Committee held its second formal meeting, during which it held a discussion with representatives to the United Nations of Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey on the implementation of the sanctions measures imposed by the Security Council in relation to Libya. It was a fruitful discussion, in which some important suggestions and proposals were made by the invited delegations, which I hope the Committee will be able to consider.

Also during the reporting period, the Committee responded to two requests for guidance in relation to the arms embargo, the first of which related to a previous request for guidance regarding deliveries of military materiel to Libya by another Member State using the requestor’s airspace, and the second of which related to previously exempted materiel that was moved out of Libya and now is supposed to eventually be returned to Libya. The Committee further sent a letter to the delegation of the European Union, in response to a request for information regarding a de-listing request, and two letters to Libya, the first of which was in response to a question by Libya relating to previously exempted materiel and the second of which was in follow-up to a request for guidance regarding the latest list of Libyan officials authorized to sign documents related to arms procurement.

Lastly, Mr. President, since the last periodic report to the Council, the Committee received one notification under paragraph 13 (b) of resolution 2009 (2011) that did not meet the necessary requirements for a notification, as laid out in the relevant implementation assistance notice of the Committee. The Committee responded to the notifying Member State by informing it about the respective shortcomings in its submission and suggesting remedy.

Since this is my last periodic report to the Council, I would like to conclude by thanking the members of the Committee for the cooperation they have always extended to me, the Secretariat for their much appreciated assistance and by wishing my successor well in his stewardship of the work ahead.

Statement by Minister in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the UN Security Council debate on ICTR, ICTY and MICT

Thank you Mr. President,

I thank Judge Theodore Meron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT); Judge Vagn Joensen, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Prosecutor Bubacar Jallow of the ICTR and the MICT, as well as Prosecutor Serge Brammetz of the ICTY, for their respective briefings.

2014 is a year of a double 20th anniversary; we commemorated the genocide against the Tutsi in April and we marked the creation of the ICTR in November. As we look back, we acknowledge the important role played by the ICTR in the fight against impunity for genocide and other mass atrocities. The Court has produced a substantial body of jurisprudence, including definitions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, as well as forms of responsibility, such as superior responsibility.

In this regard, the ICTR Trial Chamber, through the Akayesu Judgment, established that genocide occurred in Rwanda against the Tutsi, as a group. In the same case, the ICTR also ruled that acts of rape and sexual violence constitute the crime of genocide if committed with the intent to destroy the targeted group. As defense lawyers in Arusha had a bad habit of using genocide denial as argument of defense, the ICTR Appeals Chamber issued, in 2006, a judicial notice deciding that genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is a “fact of common knowledge”.

Nonetheless, despite this clear and constant jurisprudence, this Council and even the Court itself were reluctant, in resolutions, reports and others documents, to specify that genocide was committed against the Tutsi, opting for a general formulation of “Rwandan genocide”. I recall that resolution 2150 of 16 April 2014 reminded us that genocide was committed against the Tutsi, and that during that genocide, Hutu and others who opposed it were also killed. In this respect, we note with satisfaction that the ICTR used, for the first time in his latest periodic report, the language of resolution 2150. We believe, as Rwandans, that the use of this terminology, which names the targeted group, is of paramount importance, as it contributes to the fight against genocide deniers who misuse the terminology “Rwandan genocide” in an attempt to confuse the world as to who the target of this genocide was.

As the ICTR is winding down, we note that 93 individuals were indicted for genocide, mainly masterminds, national and local leaders who were out of reach for the Rwandan justice, as they were international fugitives. We welcome the recent condemnation of Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, respective President and Secretary General of the MRND, the former presidential party that planned and executed the genocide. We regret however that a number of other masterminds of the genocide, including senior military leaders, cabinet ministers and heads of local governments were acquitted, despite substantive evidence against them. We further regret the delays of the ICTR in its completion strategy, as demonstrated by endless proceedings in the Butare case.  We strongly urge the ICTR to ensure that this case is completed as soon as possible.

Mr President,

In relation to the monitoring of cases referred to national courts, we note that the cases of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta, referred to French Courts in 2007, are once again said to be in an investigative phase, without any significant progress. We are therefore extremely concerned by these repetitive delays of proceedings in cases referred by the ICTR to France, in accordance with article 11bis to the ICTR Rules of Procedure and Evidence. In comparison, I would wish to recall that the two cases referred to Rwanda in 2012 and 2013, which are also under ICTR monitoring, are far ahead in the proceedings, despite that the referral to Rwanda occurred five and six years after the referral to France! As “justice delayed is justice denied”, I call on the French authorities to ensure that the remaining investigations are expedited.

In addition, Rwanda is still concerned that nine (9) ICTR fugitives remain at large, including the three (3) top-priority fugitives: Félicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya and Augustin Bizimana. As stated by Prosecutor Hasan Bubakar Jallow, we recognize the launching of the International Fugitives Initiative in Kigali on 24 July 2014, together with the Office of Global Criminal Justice of the U.S. Department of State, INTERPOL and the Prosecutor-General of Rwanda. Our wish is to see this initiative followed by tangible results. For this to happen, we reiterate our call to UN member States, especially those in our region, to collaborate in arresting all remaining genocide fugitives, as per resolution 2150.

Mr President,

In relation to outreach programs, we noted that, while the Arusha-based Information Centre of ICTR was visited by 437 visitors, the Kigali-based Information Centre was visited by 42,000 visitors and that the ICTR mini-information Centres in Rwanda attracted 23,000 visitors, including high-level UN and Government officials, academics, civil society, NGOs and the general public. This justifies our request, supported by all the five States of East African Community, that ICTR archives be transferred to Rwanda, after completion of the MICT proceedings. We are hopeful that the hand-over of the management of the Information and Documentation Center (Umusanzu) to the Government of Rwanda, along with ten additional provincial centers, will be an important step for the hand-over of all ICTR archives.

Mr President,

Next year will be the year of the 20th commemoration of another genocide, the genocide of Bosniaks in Srebrenica, as established in 2004 by the ICTY in the Krstic Case. We commend the ICTY, which arrested all the indicted fugitives and concluded proceedings against 141 of the 161 indicted individuals, for its achievements. We note that the ICTY will not be able to complete its work by 31 December 2014, and we urge this Tribunal, as we did for ICTR, to expedite its proceedings. We take this opportunity to express deep concern over the persisting scourge of denial against the genocide in Srebrenica, including by state officials, which is an additional and unnecessary pain imposed to the survivors. Therefore, we call on all leaders in the region to own their history and work towards genuine reconciliation and healing.

In conclusion, Mr. President, as we commemorate for the 20th time genocides in Rwanda and in Srebrenica, we commend the ICTY, ICTR and the MICT for their continued efforts for justice and accountability for the most serious crimes. We urge the Residual Mechanism and the international community to ensure that the remaining ICTR fugitives are apprehended and brought to justice; the ICTR and the ICTY to complete their remaining cases; and the French authorities to expedite its proceedings in the 7-year long investigations on the two cases referred by the ICTR.

I thank you.

Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the Security Council briefing by the outgoing Chairs of Subdiaries bodies

Mr President

Thank you Mr. President for convening this meeting and for providing me with the opportunity to share my reflections and observations, as Chair of the 1970 Sanctions Committee on Libya for the last two years and as Chair of the Informal Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations for the last year.

I will start by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya. Only in its fourth year, this regime has likely been the most rapidly evolving Security Council sanctions regime in recent years. While initially the core objectives of the measures was to prevent further attacks against the civilian population in Libya, the political context has necessitated modifications of the measures, which have led to provide better support to the Libyan-led transition and rebuild process and, to benefit regional security.

This sanctions regime also provides a good example of how the Security Council has been proactive in terms of quickly moving to respond to the developments on the ground, as evident by the ten resolutions adopted in a record time of four years, with four resolutions during my tenure. Just as an example, this year, as the security situation in Libya was deteriorating, the Security Council quickly acted in passing resolution 2174 which reinforced the arms embargo and introduced criteria to designate spoilers to Libya’s political transition.

Following the incident in March 2014, involving the illegal seizure of oil by a militia in Libya, this Council also responded with resolution 2146 introducing measures in relation to attempts to illicitly export crude oil. In all, the flexibility of the Council in this case, allowed this sanctions regime to evolve to better serve its remedial and preventive purpose.

Mr. President,

During Rwanda tenure, the Committee reached an agreement with INTERPOL concerning UN Security Council INTERPOL Special Notices, an important partner in promoting effective implementation of measures. As stated by Ambassador Lucas , it is also our belief that the Council and its sanctions committee could strengthen even more interaction with relevant international and regional organizations.

As for the interaction with member states, we convened an informal open briefing for all Member States with the participation of the Panel of Experts held in February of this year, and a briefing with Libya and the interested Member States, in particular those in the region held on November of this year. In both briefings, there was interactive participation from Member States.

For instance, at our briefing with the neighbouring countries, the views and perspectives expressed on the challenges faced in implementing the measures imposed by the Security Council shed light on how the Committee can better assist the Member States. We therefore endorse continuation of this practice as we believe that these types of dialogue seek to increase transparency and initiate an important process that will contribute greatly to the effectiveness of the Committee’s work.

As for the interaction between the Committee and the concerned state, we noted some success notably the invitation of the Permanent Representative of Libya to join the Committee in two meetings. Additionally, in our aim to be more transparent, the Committee shared with Libya unofficial and informal tables of the exemption requests and notifications relating to the asset freeze and to the arms embargo imposed by resolution 1970 (2011) and, modified by subsequent resolutions. This is a first step in the right direction and I am sure that in the future, the Committee will try to improve information sharing with the Permanent Mission of Libya.

Let me also just add that, in light of the increased relevance of the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the work of the Committee, following the adoption of resolution 2174 (2014), we find it useful to invite him to committee’s meetings in the near future.  We regret that we could not organize such meeting during my tenure.

Mr. President,

In regards to the scope of the work, we noted that the total number of issues before the Committee decreased but their complexity significantly increased. This is due in large to the changes to the measures, with a particular focus on the Arms Embargo, which received a lot of attention especially in recent months. The Committee exercised vigilance with regard to exemption requests and exchanged letters with individual Member States seeking clarification, when it was necessary.

However, despite our vigilance, the situation on the ground today shows gaps in implementation of the arms embargo. The Panel has reported on transfers of non-exempted material, both into and out of Libya, as well as diversion of exempted material to armed groups in Libya. In this context, I would like to emphasize that the Committee’s vigilance is not a silver bullet; member states need to fully implement the arms embargo. It is also important to emphasize that the Committee has been and will remain ready to provide guidance, on the scope and application of the measures to any Member State that so requests in order to ensure a clear and consistent understanding by all.

In regards to the Panel of Experts, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Panel of Experts for the tremendous work they do and to have consistently provided detailed and exhaustive reports. During my tenure, the Committee was proactive and in regular communication with Member States, seeking support to the Panel and following up on its recommendation and inputs. Unfortunately, the response rate remains low and I would encourage the Member States to cooperate more closely with the Committee.

Mr. President,

Allow me to express by deepest gratitude to the Secretariat of the Subsidiary Organs branch for their invaluable assistance and to the members of Committee for their support for these last two years and, their cooperation which allowed us, to address, in a timely manner, complex issues that were submitted to the Committee.

Mr. President,

Now, turning to the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, during our tenure, Rwanda addressed important thematic debates surrounding the complexity of international peacekeeping operations today.

Overall, the programme of meetings, 8 in total, including the upcoming meeting scheduled on 17 December, reflected not only the current activities of the wider Security Council and priorities of its Members, but also the concerns and issues important to Member States that have personnel and equipment on the ground. Specific topics included mission start-ups and re-hatting challenges, inter-mission cooperation, women’s participation in peacekeeping, troop and police preparedness and the role of UN police in peacekeeping.

First instance given the earlier re-hatting challenges in Mali, we believed it was critical to improve future re-hatting processes and our topic in April was on the Central African Republic, ahead of the re-hatting of the African-Union led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) into the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

The following month we considered the question of inter-mission cooperation, focusing on the recent IMC example employed by the UN Mission in South Sudan. Several participants put forth proposals that could make IMC more effective, including the possibility of developing airlift capabilities for the regional service centres.

In June, we addressed the challenges confronting the UN’s efforts to increase female participation in peacekeeping operations, both in the field and at UN Headquarters. Rwanda’s Assistant Commissioner of Police travelled all the way from Kigali to share insight into how Rwanda is able to deploy such a high percentage of female peacekeepers to UN operations. Many member states raised important points including recognizing the value of National Action Plans in promoting the use of women, providing more opportunities for pre-deployment training, utilizing the skillsets that female personnel have to offer and recruiting women in leadership posts.

Mr. President,

The last meeting I would highlight will be our final meeting scheduled to take place on 17 December. It will address the complex issue of the Protection of Civilians, with the aim to work toward a common understanding of PoC definition, mandate design, and PoC implementation. We believe that it is paramount that we delve into the evolution of PoC mandates and address key conceptual issues that impact the work on the ground. It is our hope that the discussion among Member States will lay out varying visions for PoC, as well as lay the groundwork for an attempt to move this discussion forward.

In concluding, next year, the High-Level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations will provide, for the first time in twenty years, a comprehensive assessment of peacekeeping operations and special political missions. We hope that the recommendations of the Panel, as well as of other review and assessment efforts, will inform the agenda of the Working Group in 2015.

Finally, Mr. President, I would like to thank the Secretariat for their support in ensuring that the work of the Working Group was conducted smoothly and also thank all Member States for their contributions, which without a doubt helped to enrich the discussion.

I would also like to wish both the delegations of Chad and of Malaysia best of luck in discharging their duties at the helm of the informal working group on peacekeeping operations and the 1970 Sanctions Committee respectively.

I thank you.

Statement by Political Coordinator, Lawrence Manzi at the UN Security Council debate on the UN interim administration Mission in Kosovo

Thank you Mr. President,

I thank Mr. Farid Zarif, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo, for his comprehensive briefing and for his continued leadership at the helm of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK). I also thank H.E. Mr. Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia and Mr. Hashim Thaci of Kosovo for their respective statements.

Mr. President,

During the last debate of this Council on Kosovo, held on 29 August this year, Rwanda had welcomed the peaceful, transparent and well-organized elections of the Assembly of Kosovo, held on 8 June, following the dissolution of the previous Assembly. But today, we are concerned at the current impasse in the election of the President of the Assembly and the formation of the Government, which may prevent the authorities to take the necessary measures to enhance security, foster reconciliation and promote the economy and well-being of the people of Kosovo. We encourage all political parties to intensify their efforts to put an end to this institutional gridlock.

We note that under the period under review, no high-level dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina was organized, under the facilitation of the European Union (EU). However, we commend the continental organization for its continued efforts in promoting dialogue, including through technical and working level meetings, which led to agreements in crossing points, freedom of movement, telecommunication and energy. In this regard, as Rwanda believes in regional integration, we welcome the progress made by both Belgrade and Pristina towards their European integration and we hope that the challenges pointed out in the 2014 European Commission progress reports for both countries will soon be overcome.

Regarding the situation in Northern Kosovo, Rwanda welcomes the close cooperation between both communities and their progress in the municipal governance, including coordination and harmonization of the budget between the North Mitrovica Municipality and the Mitrovica North Administrative Office, and between the four Serb-majority municipalities in Northern Kosovo and the central authorities. We further welcome other achievements such as the integration of former Serbian Ministry of Interior police in the Kosovo Police. In this context, we call on all sides to build on this momentum and resolve pending issues, such as the construction of the ethnically-mixed area of Kroi I Vitakut/Brdjani in North Mitrovica.

Mr. President,

We note that the security situation in Kosovo has remained generally calm and stable, despite deplorable incidents, such as those related to illegal logging and those against cultural and religious heritage. We commend the Kosovo Police, supported by EULEX and KFOR, for its continued action in maintaining peace and security, as well as its resolve in fighting violent extremism and the scourge of foreign terrorist fighters, as demonstrated by its action against supporters of the Islamic State or Daesh. We take this opportunity to recognize the important role of the Kosovo Islamic Community, which denounced the participation by Kosovo Albanians in foreign conflicts, and we hope that the draft law prohibiting the participation of Kosovars in armed conflicts outside Kosovo will soon be adopted by the Assembly of Kosovo.

Regarding the voluntary return of displaced persons to Kosovo, Rwanda is concerned at the continued slow pace of this process. In this regard, we commend the Kosovo authorities on the confidence building measures undertaken, aimed at promoting reconciliation among the communities, including the integration of minority communities in public institutions and in the Police. Nonetheless, we believe that it is important that all stakeholders continue to engage communities in identifying and eradicating all obstacles to the return and safe settlement of the displaced persons.

In conclusion, Mr. President, Rwanda recognizes the commitment of Belgrade and Pristina in the EU-facilitated dialogue, as well as the progress made in their shared goal of European integration. We hope that the deadlock for the election of the President of the Kosovo Assembly will be soon resolved and that both communities will remain constructively engaged in finding long-term stability, reconciliation and prosperity for Kosovo and all its citizens.

I thank you.