H.E. Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
At The Public Meeting Of The Security Council On The Situation In Kosovo
5 August 2004
I begin today by expressing Japan's sincere respect for the efforts of Mr. Harri Holkeri, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General, to improve the situation in Kosovo. We also extend our heartfelt congratulations on the appointment of Mr. Søren Jessen-Petersen as the next Special Representative for Kosovo.
As the new Special Representative is expected to commence his work in the near future, today's public meeting will be an excellent opportunity to reassess the situation and the policies in place up to the present. I am confident that Mr. Jessen-Petersen will also make his best effort in his new post, taking into consideration the conclusions drawn from today's discussion.
The Government of Japan wishes to make three points today. First, against the background of the lessons of the March violence, we welcome the fact that PISG and UNMIK, with the help of concerned countries, have drafted the framework document for the devolution of responsibilities to local authorities. My government hopes that, through the careful implementation of the framework, the human rights of minorities will be better protected, and the establishment of a democratic and multiethnic society will be accelerated.
At the last public meeting, a number of representatives mentioned the importance of realizing tolerance in Kosovo. Japan firmly believes that establishing such tolerance is the key to the successful implementation of the Kosovo standards. In this context, we welcome the implementation of inter-community talks on several subjects and particularly the consultations including both Kosovo-Albanians and Kosovo-Serbs, which have led to an agreement on the establishment of institutions for human rights and the return of refugees. We also would like to emphasize that the restoration of homes destroyed in the March violence should be completed as soon as possible in order to improve mutual trust among the communities involved.
Lastly, building tolerance will require a positive change in the mental attitude of the people, that is, they must have reason to hope for a better life for themselves. Regrettably, recent news reports indicate that the unemployment rate in Kosovo is again rising and is now approaching seventy percent. This situation, in which the people are enduring unacceptably high unemployment and thus are unable to have any confidence in their future, must be changed. UNMIK and PISG, with the assistance of the international community, must redouble their efforts to address this issue within the framework of the Standards Implementation Plan.
Based on our firm belief that stabilizing the situation in Kosovo is essential for the stability and prosperity of the entire region, my government to date has contributed approximately 186 million dollars in assistance for that purpose. We remain committed to the goal of achieving stability and prosperity in South Eastern Europe, in cooperation with the international community as a whole.
Thank you, Mr. President.