Let me, at the outset, 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 welcome also thank H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Enver Hoxhaj of Kosovo for their respective statements.
Rwanda welcomes the commitment of new Government of Serbia to the European Union facilitated dialogue with Pristina and for the full implementation of the 19 April 2013 Agreement. We equally welcome the holding, on 8th June, of peaceful, transparent and well-organized elections of the Assembly of Kosovo, following the dissolution of the previous Assembly. We commend the Kosovo authorities, with the support of the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), for a smooth organization of these elections. We extend our appreciation to the Kosovo Police which, in coordination with the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), provided security for the elections.
We noted however that due to this electoral and political process on both sides, the EU-facilitated process slowed down, as no high level meeting was held during the reporting period. But we are confident that the parties will soon resume dialogue, to iron out the underlying differences. In this respect, we recognize the leadership of the European Union in facilitating the dialogue and we believe that this is one of the examples that highlight the critical role that regional and subregional organizations can play in the maintenance of international peace and security.
We note that the security situation in Kosovo has remained generally calm and stable, despite various incidents such as the incidents near the villages of Orlovac and Kushtove/Kosutovo, as informed by the Special Representative. In Northern Kosovo, we deplore incidents occurred in June in the area of the main Mitrovica Bridge, which led to the rise in tensions and to protests during which 13 police officers and 12 civilians were injured. We are however encouraged by the establishment, by Belgrade and Pristina, of a Working Group, following a meeting held in July between both sides, under the auspices of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in Brussels, to discuss the matter. We hope that both sides will continue working together to avoid further security incidents.
Rwanda takes note, with concern, of the findings of the European Union Specialized Task Force, as presented by its Chief Prosecutor on 29 July. We were alarmed by the reports of ethnic cleansing targeting minorities, organized by former senior officials of the Kosovo Liberation Army, as well as a climate of intimidation against the current and potential witnesses. In this regard, we welcome the ratification, by the Assembly of Kosovo, of the Agreement between Kosovo and EU establishing a specialist court to try cases arising from the findings of the Task Force. But it is important that the Government and Assembly of Kosovo, as well as the European Union, take additional measures to expedite the establishment of the court, in order to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable.
It is unfortunate, Mr. President, that the voluntary return of displaced persons to Kosovo remained low during the period under review. Nonetheless, we commend the Kosovo authorities for the implementation of the 2013-2014 confidence-building measures programme throughout the country, aimed at promoting genuine reconciliation among the communities. We believe that community-based initiatives and other projects, particularly those aimed at better integrating minorities in the education system and in the public service, including the Police, will eventually contribute to a higher number of returnees, thus fostering sustainable reconciliation.
In conclusion, Mr. President, Rwanda recognizes the commitment of Belgrade and Pristina to the EU-facilitated dialogue and we encourage both sides to remain engaged constructively, as we are convinced that this process will ultimately lead to a long-term stability, reconciliation and development on both sides.
I thank you.