For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No: UNIS/SC/1238
Release Date:  26 June 2000
Special Envoy for Balkans, Carl Bildt, Briefs Security Council,
Says Integration of Region into Europe Vital for Stability

NEW YORK, 23 June (UN Headquarters) -- Paving the way for integration of the Balkans into Europe would be a vital means of achieving long-term stability there and whatever message the international community sent would be important to the whole region, Carl Bildt, the Secretary-General Special Envoy for the Balkans, said this morning while briefing the Security Council.

He said the future of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the most pressing issue for the region. as there could be no regional stability without stability in that country.  Among the causes for concern were the unsustainability of its present structures and the acute constitutional crisis between Belgrade and Montenegro.  The two were on a slow, but steady, collision course.

 Most Council members still felt the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was important for wider stability and for the internal stability of the Balkan States, he noted.  However, the continued refusal of key people in the country to accept the indictments of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was dangerous, primarily for the Federal Republic, but also for the region as a whole. 

He said that other issues unconnected to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia included the Prevlaka Peninsula, where 10 years of negotiations yielded no result whatsoever.  At some point, all the issues must be brought together as part of a comprehensive Balkans settlement.  Such a settlement would not be possible without a consensus in the positions of the international community, as reflected in the Security Council.  True peace must meet the minimum demands of everyone, but not the maximum demands of any group or State. 

In an historic and unprecedented address to the Council, Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the European Union Council and High Representative for the Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, said that, although there was no guarantee that there would be no future crisis in the Balkans, it would undoubtedly be overcome.

The Union aimed at the fullest possible integration of Balkan States into its political and economic mainstream, he said.  But a major obstacle was the regime in Belgrade, which systematically violated key values of democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and open engagement with neighbours.  Europe was ready to provide economic assistance to Serbia once it embraced those values.

Croatia's representative said the problems arising from the protracted crises in South-Eastern Europe had challenged the international community in many respects and would remain for years to come.  Most importantly, the Balkan countries had yet to take charge of their own fates.  Changes in Croatia had been both welcomed and rewarded by the international community.  The European Union's willingness to speed up Croatia's integration had been an important signal that, if conditions were met, Europe's door would remain open. 

The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina said that, while his country was still far from being a self-sustained State, things were moving in the right direction.  Instabilities in the region caused by the situation in Serbia, the Kosovo crisis and the uncertainties in Montenegro had a huge negative impact.  Efforts to democratize the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were in that country's and the region's vital interests.  In Kosovo, the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) would be able to provide security for all ethnic groups and start the process of reconciliation.  However, any attempt to change borders in the Balkans would lead to another war.  The internationally recognized borders had to be respected by all.

Expressing deep distress over attempts by any ethnic group to impose its will on any other, the representative of the United States condemned unreservedly the attacks by Kosovo Albanians on the Serb population, but emphasized that Kosovo was not a one-sided story.  There must be a full accounting for the 4,000 missing Albanians, many of whom may not be alive.  There would never be long-term peace and stability in the Balkans until a more representative government replaced the regime in Belgrade, he reiterated.

The United Kingdom welcomed the recent seizure of large caches of weapons by the Force in Kosovo -- KFOR.  Such actions were fundamental to undermining extremist minorities, and must continue.  At times, the judicious use of force was necessary to limit brutal behaviour.  When political leaderships were involved in brutality, there would be political aspects to justice, and when those leaders were clearly involved in crimes against humanity, difficult decisions must be made.  Those decisions should be supported by the Council, which had, itself, established the International Tribunal.

China's representative said that the current problems in Kosovo had been caused by such internal factors as ethnic and religious differences, which had been exacerbated by external factors, like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing campaign last year.  That campaign, conducted under a humanitarian pretext, had threatened the credibility of the United Nations and the Security Council.  By bombing civilian establishments, NATO had also violated the Fourth Geneva Convention.  The Kosovo problem could only be solved within the framework of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The representative of Iraq said that the flouting of the principles of respect for sovereignty, non-intervention and non-use of force had complicated the already-complex situation in the Balkans.  The NATO bombing campaign had been a body blow for international law.  The Secretary-General had been correct to say that the operation jeopardized the international security system. 

Prior to Mr. Bildt's briefing, the Council held a procedural vote on a request by Vladislav Jovanovic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to participate in the meeting.  Seven Council members voted against his participation (Bangladesh, Canada, France, Malaysia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States), with four in favour (China, Namibia, Russian Federation, Ukraine), with four abstentions (Argentina, Jamaica, Mali, Tunisia).  

The representatives of the United States, Ukraine, China, Argentina, France and the Russian Federation spoke in explanation of position.

Council members Jamaica, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Canada, Ukraine, Argentina, Tunisia, Netherlands, Namibia and Council President Jean-David Levitte, speaking as representative France, also addressed the meeting.  The representative of Portugal spoke as Chair of the European Union, and the Council also heard from non-members Norway, Japan, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Austria (as Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Belarus, Pakistan and Albania.

The meeting commenced at 10:35 a.m. and was suspended at 1:30 p.m.  It resumed at 2:55 p.m. and adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this morning to hear a briefing by Carl Bildt, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans.

Participation in Meeting

The Council President, JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), announced that three groups of parties had sought permission to participate in the Council meeting. Those were the representatives of Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Iraq, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey, which sought participation under the Council’s provisional rule of procedure number 37. The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Balkans, Carl Bildt, and the Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security of the European Union, Javier Solana, were seeking participation under provisional rule of procedure 39.  Finally, a letter had been received from Mr. Jovanovic which sought his participation, but referred to neither rule.  He proposed that the Council consider those three sets of requests separately.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that in yesterday’s informal discussions he had proposed that a single positive response be made by the Council to all requests for participation.  He would be grateful if a decision could be taken on his proposal.

The President, Mr. LEVITTE (France), said he would put the Russian Federation’s proposal, to take a single decision, to a vote. 

The Council then voted on the Russian proposal.  The vote was 4 in favour (China, Namibia, Russian Federation, Ukraine) to 10 against, with 1 abstention (Jamaica).  The proposal was, thus, not approved. 

The Council then decided to take separate decisions without a vote. 

The requests from Member States seeking to participate under rule 37 were then accepted, without a vote. 

The requests for participation by Mr. Bildt and Mr. Solana, under rule 39, were then accepted without a vote.

When the Council’s attention turned to the request by Mr. Jovanovic, RICHARD HOLBROOKE (United States) called for vote.  He objected to the proposal that Mr. Jovanovic, or anyone else purporting to represent his Government, be allowed to address the Council.  Senior members of that Government were under indictment for war crimes, by a tribunal created by the Council, he noted. 

Allowing any representative to participate undermined the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, flouted the indictments and set the Council on the wrong legal and moral course, he said, as well as undermining the seriousness of the gathering.  There was no room in this debate for a representative of that nationalist extremist regime, which had fuelled four Balkan wars over the last decade.  He recommended the Council state clearly and unequivocally that it did not accept the actions of the Belgrade regime.  The United States would vote against the participation. 

VOLODYMYR Y. YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine) said that, beginning this year, the Council had acted to increase participation of non-members in its discussions.  Recently, the Political Committee of the Lusaka Agreement had participated.  For the first time in the history of the United Nations, the representatives of rebel movements had, thus, been involved in a Council meeting.  That was significant, and the Council had derived considerable benefit from it. 

That inclusiveness was inconsistent with the request for a vote on the participation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s representative, he said. That country was party to the peace agreement and host for the missions.  These were sufficient grounds for its involvement.

Article 32 of the United Nations Charter said any State must be invited to participate if it was a party to the dispute under discussion, he said.  The formula that had been used before was that the representative be invited by name, and that practice should not be abandoned after eight years.  He would vote in favour of participation, he said.  That statement was without prejudice to the situation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Council then voted on that participation.  The outcome was 4 in favour (China, Namibia, Russia Federation, Ukraine) to 7 against, with 4 abstentions (Argentina, Jamaica, Mali, Tunisia). 

Thus, the request was not approved. 

Speaking in explanation of position, SHEN GUOFANG (China) said he deeply regretted the decision.  The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was an important country in the Balkans and was directly involved in the matter under discussion, as well as a party to the Dayton Agreement. 

Agreement with the Federal Republic’s policies was not the issue, he said. Its exclusion would not contribute to a solution to the Balkans problem.  The Council should not deprive a sovereign State of its right to express its position. That ran counter to the United Nations Charter.  Therefore, the decision not to allow the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to participate was deeply regrettable. 

ARNOLDO M. LISTRE (Argentina) said Argentina’s abstention was based on its doubts as to the appropriateness of denying participation to Mr. Jovanovic, bearing in mind precedents in the Council.  However, that should not be seen as implying support, endorsement or sympathy for the regime in Belgrade.  Argentina shared the attitude to that regime expressed by the United States. 

Mr. LEVITTE (France), speaking in his national capacity, said France voted against the request because Mr. Jovanovic’s participation was unsuitable. However, France did not reject the principle of such participation in Council meetings.  The vote was not related to, and did not influence, the status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was a substantial matter to be decided by the Council and the General Assembly. 

Mr. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the policy of isolating Yugoslavia, not just today but from the whole of the discussion of the settlement of the Balkans problems, was counter to the United Nations Charter.  It was awkward for him to recall that, according to Charter Article 31, that country had a right to participate.  It embarrassed him to note that its interests were directly affected by the item.  Even if that was insufficient reason for its participation, Article 32 of the Charter said that even a non-Member States had a right to participate in discussions of situations to which it was a party. 

To discuss the Balkans without Yugoslavia was nonsense, he said. The Russian Federation was also concerned that the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was increasingly being used as a political instrument.  That was manifest in the Tribunal Prosecutor’s refusal to consider the use of force by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  The Russian Federation could not support this.

A very dangerous precedent was set by the Federal Republic’s exclusion, he said.  Gagging was not the best way to resolve international problems.  Even a defendant had a right to defend his or her position.  A key party, which could have a key impact, was being eliminated from discussions.


The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Balkans, CARL BILDT, said that efforts to seek peace in the Balkans by the United Nations and by the European Union were complimentary.  The search for self-sustaining stability for that region was not new.  It had been given a high priority since the early 1990s, but the international community was still far from the goals it had set.  There were now three peacekeeping operations in the region, and four others had previously played a role.  Some one quarter of a million young men and women had either served, were serving, or were preparing to serve in armed forces there.  If the international forces were withdrawn, there would probably be war. 

Self-sustaining stability would only be achieved in the context of a firm political framework for the region, when the different communities accepted such a framework and when the international community supported it, he said.  When such a firm framework was in place, history showed that the people of the region would be able to live in peace.  History also showed that whenever the situation in the region was unclear or fragile, a cycle of fear and expectation developed that nearly always resulted in war and human rights violations.  That had been the case since the slow collapse of the Ottoman Empire. 

In Bosnia, slow progress was being made, he said.  In Kosovo, the United Nations was engaged in one of its most demanding and difficult missions.  But the region was larger that Bosnia and Kosovo, and those were just the most acute fracture zones.  He stressed that the international community would never succeed in Kosovo or Bosnia if it failed in the wider region.  No stability was achievable long term without a firm plan and role for the whole region. 

Regarding Kosovo, the Council had been informed, by the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Bernard Kouchner, of efforts being made towards self-government and substantial autonomy.  Those were critically important for stability.  However, they were being undertaken in an unsatisfactory climate in many respects, with terror against minorities persisting.  Kosovo still suffered under the rule of thugs.  The Kosovo-Albanian leadership had condemned violence, but an unacceptable level of terror still remained. 

That must not be taken as a reason for the international community to give up on Kosovo.  There were no choices available but to continue, he said.  The elected representatives of Kosovo would soon learn that the European Union and the international community would not accept a system that did not preserve human rights and protect minorities. 

For far too long too little had been done in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said.  An aid-dependent economy had developed, at a time when aid was starting to decline, and that would threaten the State’s future.  Minority returns would continue, but in the absence of a functioning economy, the old might return to finish their days where they were born, but the young would leave in search of opportunities.  The Bosnian-elected leaders must act on that. 

Most pressing for the region was the future of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he said.  There could be no regional stability without stability in its parts, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was cause for concern.  Its present structures were unsustainable, in particular the acute constitutional crisis between Montenegro and Belgrade. They were on a slow, but steady, collision course.  It was vitally important that support be given to the Montenegren-elected authorities, to help them pave the way for the new deal they were seeking.  There was also the unresolved issue of the future status of Kosovo.  On paper, it was a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but the reality was different.  Any peace agreement would have to include a clear constitutional separation of the two entities. 

He noted that most Council members still said that the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was important for wider stability and for the internal stability of Balkan States.  They did not favour further disintegration in the region.  However, the situation was not helped by the continued refusal of key people in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to accept the International Tribunal's indictments.  That was dangerous primarily for the Federal Republic, but also for the region as a whole. 

In Dayton, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had subscribed to the position that those indicted and not cooperating could not hold public office, he said.  Thus, the international community was only demanding of the Federal Republic what it had agreed to demand of others.  The sooner the political system in the Federal Republic accepted that logic, the better.  The international community should not wait too long. 

As long as there was a feeling that arrangements in the Balkans were not final, and core issues remained open, the possibility of revolt and nationalist aggression remained, he said.  There were positive, as well as negative, trends, such as the recent developments in Croatia.  However, as long as core issues remained unresolved, the dangers remained. 

There were numerous open issues that were unconnected to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he said.  The issue of the Prevlaka Peninsula was a small, but significant, example, and 10 years of negotiations had not yielded any result whatsoever.  At some point, all the issues must be brought together as part of a comprehensive Balkans settlement. 

Such a settlement would not be possible if there was no consensus in the positions of international community, as reflected in the Security Council, he said.  In addition, there must be a recognition that a true peace must meet the minimum demands of everyone, but will not meet the maximum demands of any group or State. 

It was a year of important elections in the region, he noted.  Elections had either taken place or were due in Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia.  Federal elections were due in Yugoslavia itself, and while it was difficult to imagine they would be free and fair, they could allow the Yugoslav people to make their voices heard.  They must choose between isolation and integration. 

The message the international community sent would be important to the whole region, he said.  The position of the European Union was also important.  Paving the way for Balkan integration into Europe would be a key means to achieving long-term stability. 

In no other region, except the Middle East, had the United Nations found it necessary to establish so many peacekeeping missions, he noted.  Thus, the international community should not only be interested in the success of its present missions, but also in assisting to create a situation where the region itself was responsible for its own peace.  There was a long way to go before that would be achieved, he concluded. 

ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union was by far the largest contributor to international efforts to help bring peace and stability to the region.  Between 1991 and 1999, the Union had contributed more than 17 billion euro in assistance to South-Eastern Europe.  The Union was offering stabilization and association agreements to five South-Eastern European countries, with a view to eventual Union membership.  There could be no doubt that the Union was heavily committed to the efforts to bring about a peaceful and prosperous Western Balkans region.

The recent ethnically motivated violence in Kosovo was intolerable and must be stopped, he continued.  All Kosovars, regardless of ethnic origin, must be able to stay in and return to Kosovo and live there in peace without intimidation.  The leaders of all ethnic communities, in particular the Kosovo Albanian community, must take responsibility for achieving that and act vigorously to promote tolerance and mutual respect.

This week, the United Nations mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina was extended for another year, demonstrating the clear intent of the international community to make the Dayton peace agreement work.  The recent Peace Implementation Council set priorities for a new accelerated phase of peace implementation in three key areas:  economic reform; accelerated return of displaced persons; and functional and democratically accountable common institutions.  A crucial aspect of the process of national reconciliation in the Balkans was a sense among all communities that justice had been served.  Thus, the work of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia must continue to be pursued vigorously.  He urged that persons accused of war crimes who were still at large be brought to justice.

The peace process in Bosnia, and the prospects for peace and security in the region as a whole, depended very much on whether democracy would be allowed to breathe in Serbia, he said.  The Union was deeply concerned at the continuing deterioration or the political situation in Serbia and condemned the escalating repression by the Belgrade regime against the democratic opposition and independent media.  The Union’s policy was not directed against the Serbian people, but against President Milosevic’s regime, which was violating basic human rights in the most flagrant manner.

The Union, he added, was committed to strengthening its dialogue with Serbian civil society and to supporting democracy and the freedom of expression in Serbia, to continuing its support to the democratically elected Government of Montenegro, and to helping re-establish peaceful coexistence in Kosovo.

The way forward had been shown by the people of Croatia, he said.  The election in February of a government committed to comprehensive reform marked the beginning of a new era for that country.  The Union was committed to working very closely with the Croatian authorities in their quest for making Croatia a full-fledged member of the Euro-Atlantic community.  That surely was the ultimate goal for all the countries of the Western Balkans -– to be participating members of free and democratic Europe.

JAVIER SOLANA, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the Union Foreign and Security Policy, said the Union had been an important voice in United Nations work, particularly in human rights, and social, economic and development issues.  Increasingly, that was also the case in security issues.  It was developing into an organization with access to the full range of external policy instruments, which made its relation with the United Nations, and particularly the Security Council, even more important.  His address to the Council was an historic step for the development of the Union’s foreign policy.

Today’s debate was not a response to a specific crisis in the Balkans, he said, and although there was no guarantee that such a crisis would not recur, he had no doubt they would be overcome.  His very post was a reflection of the importance the Union placed on the Balkans.  Long-term stability in the Balkans would bring greater security and prosperity for Europe as a whole.  The Union’s objective was the fullest possible integration of the countries of the region in the European political and economic mainstream.  Enlargement of the Union was its most important tool for stability, and a great catalyst for regional cooperation. It had also established a Stabilization and Association Process, aimed at greater integration, and the Stability Pact, which was a key tool for economic development. 

The Union was the major contributor to the Balkans, he said, and had provided 17 billion euro since 1991.  More than 3 billion euro had been spent on non-military programmes in Kosovo alone, in addition to providing 28,000 troops and 1,430 policemen for the mission there.

The major obstacle to a comprehensive approach to the Balkans was the resistance to political change in Belgrade, he said.  Stability depended on democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law, and the prosperity that came from openness and engagement with neighbours. Those values were systematically violated by President Milosevic, and the Union would not stand by in the face of that repression.  It was supporting democracy and freedom of expression in Serbia, and would extend economic assistance to Serbia once it embraced the values that underpinned the Union, but the Serbian regime was an obstacle to that. 

Elsewhere in the region, recent events in Croatia gave cause for optimism, he said.  Political and economic support must also continue for Bosnia in its transition.  The forthcoming elections would play a key role in that transition. 

He firmly believed that the best chance for long-term stability in the Balkans was steady integration into the European mainstream, he said.  That was, itself, a long-term process, but important.  The Union had maintained peace and stability in Western Europe for over half a century, and it was now inconceivable that its members would settle differences other than by peaceful means.  It was a model of regional integration as a guarantee of peace.

The Union would focus its energy on the various elections taking place in the region, he said.  They presented an opportunity to strengthen democracy.  It would lend support to those parties and individuals committed to ethnic tolerance, democracy and the rule of law.  It would also continue to support civil society, working with local authorities, non-governmental organizations and the media.  It would also work to bring the region's countries closer to the region. Negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the Stabilization and Association Process were under way, and would soon start with Croatia.  The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia remained outside that process, but he looked forward to the day when it could be included.

It would also remain committed to promoting regional cooperation, he said. The summit meeting this autumn between the Union and the Western Balkans States would give impetus to reform and cooperation. 

The Union would continue to support the implementation of Council resolution 1244 (1999) for Kosovo, he said.  The positive developments of the last 12 months had been overshadowed by the recent flare-up in ethnic violence.  The Union was working with the United Nations mission and Member States to address the legitimate concerns of Serbs and encourage them to return to interim institutions. The local elections were important, but hard work was required to ensure they took place in a positive environment.

The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) would only be able to carry out its mandate if it were given adequate resources, he said.  The shortage of staff, including police officers, judges and prosecutors, hampered the Mission in key areas.  The Union was trying to carry the lion's share of the international community's efforts and would continue to do so.

The Union's experience in the Balkans was sobering, he said, but the situation also presented an opportunity.  As a result, it had dedicated itself to the region, to a wider Europe, and to a more outward and mature common foreign policy.  All gained from that.

Mr. HOLBROOKE (United States) said that the outcome of the procedural vote was correct from every standpoint.  However, according to Security Council resolutions 777 and 821, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had ceased to exist and it had been decided that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must apply for United Nations membership.  The fact that Tito’s flag still flew outside the United Nations was a travesty of the United Nations spirit.

He said that the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had applied for United Nations membership and had been accepted.  The United Nations had rejected Belgrade’s claim to be the sole legitimate successor to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  That had also been the unanimous view of the Dayton signatories -– apart from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- the Security Council and the European Union.

Regarding the situation in the Balkans, he said that on the bright side the new democratic Government in Croatia was oriented towards openness and democratic principles.  In Bosnia and Herzegovina, it must be recognized that progress could be made even in the midst of difficulties.  The world did not realize how much progress had been made in that country, because the international press had turned away from it –- good news was old news.  Nonetheless, the forces of darkness still existed, as represented by the divided city of Mostar and the fact that Radovan Karadzic, one of the world’s most dangerous men, remained at large.

The situation in Kosovo was much more complicated, he said.  As the Council marked the one-year anniversary of resolution 1244 (1999), the serious security problems of the province could not be glossed over.  The United States was deeply distressed by attempts by whatever ethnic group to impose its will on any other.  However, while condemning unreservedly the attacks by Kosovo Albanians on the Serb population, it was not a one-sided story.  There must be a full accounting for the 4,000 missing Albanians, many of whom may not be alive.  Diversionary discussions in the Council Chamber did not help the situation and neither did attempts to reinterpret the resolution.

He said that any delay in the Kosovo municipal elections planned for October would lead to further problems.  Those arguing that they should be delayed were doing so only in order to argue the principle of sovereignty.  However, that was not what municipal elections were about.  It was necessary to move forward.  If some Serbs did not wish to participate, whether prevented by Belgrade or otherwise, seats could be set aside until they were ready to return to Kosovo.

There would never be long-term peace and stability in the Balkans until a more representative government replaced the regime in Belgrade, he reiterated.  Meanwhile, Belgrade continued to threaten its sister republic of Montenegro.  The United States recommitted its support for Montenegro’s efforts to build a democratic State.

Mr. SHEN (China) said that if the United Nations wanted to settle all the problems affecting the Balkans, it must maintain contacts with all the countries concerned.  Isolating the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was narrow-minded, short-sighted and counter-productive.  It was a wrong decision, and China deeply regretted it.

He said the Balkans had experienced interlinked ethnic, religious and territorial conflicts since ancient times, and China was very concerned about recent developments in the region.  The current problems in Kosovo were caused by such internal factors as ethnic and religious differences, which were exacerbated by external factors, like the NATO bombing campaign last year.

That campaign, conducted under a humanitarian pretext, had threatened the credibility of the United Nations and the Security Council, he said.  By bombing civilian establishments, NATO had also violated the Fourth Geneva Convention.  China had made strenuous efforts to bring the Kosovo issue back to the Security Council.  There were historical lessons to be learned.  The tragedy of NATO’s intervention could be repeated.

He said the whole Kosovo situation required reflection in-depth.  While differences among ethnic and religious groups should be settled, there appeared to be two distinct forces in Kosovo and the entire region, one for unity and the other for separation.  The separatists must not be condoned and encouraged, otherwise, there would be further conflict and the region would never know peace.

China was against prejudice, persecution and killings based on ethnic and religious differences, he said.  The Kosovo problem could only be solved in the framework of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  Autonomy for Kosovo should be achieved through negotiations and solutions that were acceptable to both sides.

CURTIS WARD (Jamaica) said his country regretted the need for the procedures the Council had adopted in determining the participation of countries from the Balkan region in today’s debate.  The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia remained isolated and its exclusion affected stability in the region.  Jamaica hoped a solution would be found soon.

Regarding a new court proposed by Bernard Kouchner, Special Representative for Kosovo, he said it was not clear under what jurisdiction it would operate, since efforts to establish a judiciary had failed.  Would the court be compatible with the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia?  Duplication must be avoided, he said.  Jamaica viewed the decision to establish the court as very significant for the region.  The fact that the decision was imminent meant it had been under consideration for some time.  But it had not been discussed in the Council, and Mr. Bildt had not mentioned it in his briefing.

He welcomed the recent progress made in Bosnia, particularly to ensure the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.  However, among all the progress, the issue of refugees still remained outstanding.

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said he trusted the procedural decision taken this morning would settle the question it addressed once and for all, and would not distract from the substantive discussion of the situation in the Balkans.  While discussions had taken place elsewhere on the region, the Council had a key role. 

In February, Malaysia had emphasized four core areas, he said.  Those were the return of refugees and internally displaced people, the reconciliation process and the important role of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, unstinted international support for the peace process, and the role of leaders in the region. 

He had paid attention to what Mr. Bildt had to say on those issues, he said. For the success of the international efforts for Bosnia and Kosovo, a long-term and comprehensive approach must be taken.  He had taken note of Mr. Bildt's call for a comprehensive framework, and was also grateful to hear the European Union’s perspective. 

The international commitment must be met by constructive action by local leaders, he said.  Good relations with neighbours were also important, and could be achieved through an appropriate regional framework.  The early resolution of the question of succession of the former Yugoslavia would also contribute, and Malaysia shared the views expressed by the United States representative on that matter. 

Any consideration must address how to deal with Belgrade, he said.  Today’s procedural debate was symptomatic, and highlighted the reluctance of many Member States to deal with that regime.  The conundrum could not be resolved, while the Belgrade Government was led by those under indictment by the International Tribunal.  He agreed with the Secretary-General's Special representative, Jacques Klein, who said that the Milosevic regime was a fundamental obstacle to a better life for all, and to peace and security.  The return of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the mainstream of States would be facilitated by the trial of indictees and by the admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the United Nations. 

Malaysia commended the position taken by the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal in opposing moves to reach accommodation with Milosevic on his indictment.  Any accommodation would make a mockery of justice. 

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that, while issues were different in the different areas of the Balkans, there were common threads.  Both specific and regional perspectives must be addressed.  Some regional initiatives had been undertaken, he noted, most importantly the Stability Pact.  It addressed issues ranging from economic reconstruction to political reform.  Further regional efforts, with firm support from the Council, could do much to solve the long-term problems. 

The United Nations should continue to focus on the general security situation, he said.  Human rights had been grossly violated and justice denied, and that was particularly disturbing.  The international community had made a good effort, and progress had been achieved, but more was needed. 

The issue of missing persons and detainees was important, he said, and there should be early settlement of it.  If it was protracted, the issue would serve as a stopper to trust and confidence between communities.  The return of refugees and the displaced was also important.  However, there was still an outflow of Serbs from Kosovo, which was the result of the lack of adequate security assurances.  The international community must make further investments in confidence-building measures. 

Speeding up economic redevelopment would also be a key to solution and act as a natural deterrent to violence, he said.  Levels of international investment were good, but still inadequate.  Post-war reconstruction efforts were needed to give the region a thriving economy.  He was encouraged by the recent democratization of a number of countries in the region, and that must be built on to create peace and development. 

Any attempt by the United Nations to find a comprehensive settlement, without the all-out commitment of the international community or an international consensus would only be to the detriment of the Balkan people, he said.  Member States should rise above their political differences and find a joint commitment to help resolve the problems in the Balkans. 

ROBERT R. FOWLER (Canada) said he agreed with Mr. Bildt’s observation that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia remained a key to sustainable peace in the Balkans.  The international community had seen time and time again that any possibility of constructive engagement was blocked by the current regime in Belgrade.  There had been no recognition from Belgrade of the need to re-examine fundamentally the policies that had caused such hardship throughout the region over the past decade.  If anything, recent events provided evidence that Belgrade had no intention of putting an end to its repression.

The international community had a role to play, despite the obstructionism of Belgade, he said.  For example, regionally based measures to encourage Montenegro to continue a prudent process of democratic and economic reforms should be examined.  Also, measures should be taken to support reform-minded voices in Serbia.  A great part of that stability depended on the situation in Kosovo.  Kosovo’s final status, however, could not be resolved until there were viable prospects for productive negotiations between a responsible government in Belgrade and democratically accountable representatives in Pristina.

It was important for the United Nations mission in Kosovo to proceed with the interim development of Kosovo’s political institutions, as foreseen in resolution 1244, including free and fair elections on the municipal level.  In order to fully implement the resolution and to establish a climate conducive to reconciliation, Belgrade would need to make constructive gestures on such matters as war crimes prosecution; facilitating the preparation for elections, including allowing the participation of Kosovar Serbs in the upcoming municipal elections; and addressing the issue of missing and detained Kosovars.

In other parts of the region, he strongly supported the three priorities set out by the High Representative at the Peace Implementation Council in Brussels -– strengthening common institutions, refugee returns, and economic development.  He was also encouraged by efforts undertaken by the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to reform its economy and political structures.  He was pleased that negotiations between that country and the European Union on its future status were progressing smoothly.

He also welcomed the recent granting to Croatia of the NATO Partnership for Peace.  It was clear recognition of the recent responsive attitude Croatia had adopted towards its international obligations.  The new Croatian authorities were now making a real contribution to the peace-building process in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  That should be fully supported by the Council.  Last, he agreed with Mr. Bildt that lasting peace in the region could best be achieved by integration of the Balkans into European structures.  Repression and obstructionism must not be tolerated in the search for stability in the Balkans.

Mr. YEL'CHENKO (Ukraine) said his country was increasingly disturbed by violence against non-Albanians in Kosovo as the province apparently moved towards full-fledged independence.  There must be an international consensus on what should be done there.  Ukraine was not convinced that dialogue could not be held with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to that end.  Such a dialogue should be sought for the sake of peace.  The country's current isolation was counter-productive, because it remained a key player in the region.  The international community should avoid pushing it into a position from which it could not become integrated into Europe.

He said that the issues of refugee return and economic reconstruction remained key elements of any solutions to problems in the Balkans.  More must be done to create conditions to stop the continuing exodus of ethnic minorities from Kosovo as a result of violence against them.

Expressing concern about the lack of established dialogue between the Special Envoy and the Security Council, he said the Council did not have sufficient information on the situation in the Balkans.  Even Mr. Bildt's excellent briefing could not replace a written report.  Ukraine was disappointed that the Secretariat had failed to prepare one.

He said the establishment of interactive dialogues like today’s was beneficial in enabling the Council to have a better grasp of the issues.  It would also allow the Council to extend its political support to the Special Envoy.

Mr. LISTRE (Argentina) said that a stable and peaceful region could be built given the member countries' shared attachment to human rights, the rule of law and other principles and institutions synonymous with democracy.  Also, if they could achieve the economic and social development that continued to elude them.

He said a great deal remained to be done in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  While the future of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was unknown, there were encouraging signs for Kosovo.  Argentina's vote in favour of Council resolution 1244 (1999) had been to protect a people being victimized by ethnic cleansing.  It had in no way been meant to support those people in becoming perpetrators of ethnic cleansing and creating other victims.

Stressing the varying but linked elements of the different Balkan countries, he said there must be a common awareness of the common fate of the Balkan people over and above their narrow interests.  Only through sacrifice could the region's common destiny be achieved.  However, efforts and sacrifices should not come only from the international community, but from the Balkan people themselves.  That could only be encouraged, but not imposed.

ODHMAN JERANDI (Tunisia) said the problems affecting the different Balkan countries were similar and closely linked.  Any solution could only succeed if the entire environment was considered as a whole.

He said that some of the problems that seriously affected peace and stability could be solved if looked at as a common problem.  Those included the issue of refugees and displaced persons, because of its transnational nature, as well as economic problems.  In order to obtain the cooperation of all parties, there must be a regional grand plan, such as the one offered by the European Union.

Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said he was pleased that the European Union’s position on the Balkans had been put to the Council.  It was also about time that happened.

On the fuss about the current status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, that was “a train wreck waiting to happen”, he said.  The current undecided status of the Federal Republic was wrong and unsustainable.  It was not good that the State continues to ask to speak, when it should be seeking to properly re-establish its status.  The United Kingdom believed in the universality of the United Nations.  The problem with granting the request to participate was not just a matter of Belgrade’s unacceptable policies.  There was a status problem that must be sorted out.  The United Kingdom would work for that. 

Mr. Bildt’s statement was tantamount to an early warning on Montenegro, he said, and on the sustainability of peace in the Balkans. 

Not many speakers in the Council had made reference to KFOR, he noted.  He welcomed its recent seizure of large caches of weapons.  Such actions were fundamental to undermining extremist minorities, and must continue.  At times, the judicious use of force was necessary to set limits to brutal behaviour, like that which occurred last year in Kosovo. 

When political leaderships were involved in brutality, there would be political aspects to justice, he said.  When those leaders were clearly involved in crimes against humanity, difficult decisions must be made, and they should be supported by the Council, which had itself established the International Tribunal.

General elections were due in Bosnia in November, he noted.  It was time for political leadership there to take responsibility for the future of Bosnia’s people.  It would be wonderful if Bosnia could become an example for Kosovo, and take up the political leadership so sadly lacking in the region at present.  On the Union’s important role, he said that with greater regional cooperation it could assist all people to resolve their differences pragmatically and peacefully. 

PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherlands) said the European Union’s participation in the Council meeting was appropriate, because it should, once and for all, destroy the false notion that the European Union was a place of peace, while the Balkans were a place of trial and tribulation.  The forerunner of the Union was established in the belief that a framework was needed to avoid another Franco-German conflict.  What was possible in Western Europe could also be achieved in the Balkans.

In 1991, the Netherlands presidency of the European Union commenced less that one week after Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence, he noted.  Thus, the Netherlands felt deeply involved in the subsequent problems.  Until the end of 1991, as Union President, the Netherlands attempted to develop a common Balkan policy among Union members.  It was hindered by fanciful media stories on the relationships of France, Germany and Britain.  They were then a caricature, but now they were really a thing of the past.  The Union had succeeded in forging a common policy on the Balkans.  The Netherlands supported the Union’s statements to the Council. 

GERHARD THERON (Namibia) said Namibia remained concerned about the unsettled political situation in the Balkans, but it was also worthwhile to reflect on reasons for optimism.  The Stabilization Pact was an important initiative to revive the social and economic situation.  However, it should cover the entire region.  Namibia supported the forthcoming municipal elections in Kosovo and the work of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative there, he said. 

In Bosnia, the role of the international community was essential, because the refugees and internally displaced must be allowed to return home, he said.   To provide momentum, the international community must consider organizing a conference for dialogue and regional cooperation.  The conference must bring civil society, the private sector and the political leadership together.  It could consolidate the situation and help establish strategies for the future. 

Mr. LEVITTE (France), speaking in his national capacity, said the Council had been able to deal in-depth with Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina in June, thereby demonstrating its commitment to international justice.  It was good that today it could take an overall look at the Balkans –- the subject of Mr. Bildt’s statement. 

This meeting was unprecedented, he explained, in that, for the first time, the Secretary-General of the European Council and the presidency of the Union had spoken.  That reflected the institutional evolution of the Union, now being brought into the Council.  France was about to take over the chair of the European Union.  He was pleased that agreement had been reached in the Council on the Union’s participation. 

Its involvement was particularly necessary, as the Union was strongly involved in the Balkans, he said, in restoring what was destroyed, and in providing the people of the region with a vision for their future. 

France had proposed the impending summit between the European Union and the States of the Western Balkans, he said.  Those Western Balkan States were further along the road in their democratic evolution than others in the region.  The European Union Council had welcomed the proposal.  The meeting could provide the Union with more influence to encourage democratic evolution. 

RAYMOND JOHANSEN, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, said his country had been engaged all over the Balkans, as a major donor to the efforts to promote lasting peace and development in the region -- providing peacekeepers, humanitarian personnel and financial support.  Norway had strongly condemned the Serbian Government's recent actions against independent media and the systematic campaign of repression against the democratic opposition.  Those actions only served to further isolate Serbia from the rest of Europe. 

The Milosevic regime was becoming increasingly totalitarian and was moving to effectively block assistance to opposition forces, he continued.  Norway had developed close cooperation with several opposition-led municipalities and would continue to provide assistance to those, as well as to independent media and civil society. 

The upsurge in ethnic-motivated violence in Kosovo was totally unacceptable and must be stopped, he said.  The recent killings of Kosovo Serbs seemed to be aimed at forcing the remaining Kosovo Serbs to flee, as well as to prevent the return of those already displaced to Serbia.  Improved security for all was a prerequisite for sustainable development in Kosovo. 

A democratic Croatia would be a catalyst for reform throughout the region, he said.  Noting that Norway had set aside more than $15 million for Stability Pact projects, he said total assistance to the region for this year would be approximately $100 million.  He added that the former Yugoslav Republic Macedonia deserved special attention and increased support from the international community.  Its leaders had skillfully and peacefully managed the transition to an independent State now seeking integration in Euro-Atlantic structures. 

HIDEAKI KOBAYASHI (Japan) said that his country had sought to develop the discussion on how the stability of the entire Balkan region might best be realized.  In May, it convened in Tokyo the High-level Conference on South-Eastern Europe, at which Japan’s Foreign Minister stressed the importance of building a community where different ethnic groups could live in harmony and develop a peace-oriented society.

As he surveyed the Balkan region, positive developments were clearly discernible in certain areas, he said.  In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the meeting of the Peace Implementation Council in Brussels reaffirmed the importance of economic reform, the repatriation of refugees and displaced persons, as well as the establishment and strengthening of common institutions.   Although there was an international military and civilian presence in the region, it could not stay there indefinitely.  It was important for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to assume “ownership” of the peace process.

In Kosovo, although he appreciated the efforts of the United Nations mission, several problems remained, he said.  He could not condone acts of intolerance by nationalistic extremists against other ethnic groups.  He attached great importance to the municipal elections, scheduled for autumn, in order to establish a democratic, multi-ethnic society, and he called upon the Serb community to cooperate.  He also called upon the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to cooperate in registering the Serbian population to enable them to participate.  In Croatia, he welcomed the victory in the recent election by parties that emphasized cooperation with the international community.

His country had contributed to the stability and development of the Balkan region through its financial assistance, he said. In 1996, it pledged $500 million for economic rehabilitation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  In addition, it had already disbursed approximately $177 million for assistance to Kosovo and had pledged $60 million to neighbouring countries.  His Government intended to remain actively engaged in international efforts to enhance peace and stability throughout the Balkan region.

The meeting recessed at 1:30 p.m.

When the meeting resumed at 2:55 p.m., VLADIMIR SOTIROV (Bulgaria) said that recent events in Kosovo had proved once again that establishing peace in a society torn by prolonged ethnic conflict was an enormously complex and time-consuming process.  Certain progress had been achieved in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), but still very little had been accomplished regarding peaceful coexistence in Kosovo.  Obstacles hindering peace were the ongoing violence, the unsolved issues of missing and detained persons, and economic and social instability.

He said his country was particularly concerned with attacks on peacekeeping forces in Kosovo.  Bulgarian public opinion was sensitive to that issue since the country had representatives in KFOR, UNMIK and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  Leaders of all communities in Kosovo must take decisive actions towards putting an immediate end to all violence.  Bulgaria also urged the leaders of Kosovo to encourage cooperation and tolerance in the spirit of the declarations that they had adopted.

Bulgaria was fully committed to the completion of the peace process and the strengthening of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent, sovereign and democratic State, he said.  Peace and stability in that country were closely related to the security of South-Eastern Europe and to the perspective of its integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.  However, there was a danger that the economic challenges facing the country could undermine the achievements made so far.

He said his country supported the reforms in Montenegro, where the Government was making a sustained effort to establish civil society institutions and a market economy.  In foreign policy, Montenegro was aiming at opening the republic to the processes of cooperation and integration into the region and into Europe.

However, he said Bulgaria was alarmed by the deterioration of the political situation in Serbia, caused by the regime’s escalation of repressive measures against the opposition, the independent mass media, civil organizations and academic institutions.  Democratization required the effective integration of the different ethnic groups into the political process of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

ERNEST PETRIC (Slovenia) said the Balkans was a region with a series of mistakes, but also successes of the international community.  The international community had enabled the smooth transition of Eastern Slavonia, prevented the spillover of conflicts and tensions to the Republic of Macedonia, and prevented humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo.  The necessary action of NATO, as well as the year-long efforts of UNMIK and KFOR, represented a success in spite of the problems that Kosovo was still facing.  In supporting a comprehensive and regional approach to South-East Europe, he said all too often the specific problems of the region -- which were related and interconnected -- were approached separately and individually.

There would be no self-sustaining peace and stability in the region without the full cooperation and integration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  However, given the indictments against leaders of that country, the integration could not involve the current regime in Belgrade. The international community must encourage the forces within the country that were striving for democracy, peace and economic recovery.  By its constant pressure and threats against the democratically elected Government of Montenegro, it was now losing its legitimacy to speak for Montenegro.  The tension between Belgrade and Podgorica was likely to endanger international peace and security and deserved closer attention from the Security Council. 

The Stability Pact offered a unique opportunity for further stabilization and strengthening of peace in the region and indicated that the long-term solutions for its future lay within the process of European integration.  Slovenia was determined to continue to strengthen its friendly relations with all the nations in the region, with the exception of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was the only country with which it had no diplomatic or consular relations as a result of the precondition imposed by Belgrade that Slovenia recognize the Federal Republic as the continuing legal personality of the former State. 

GERHARD PFANZELTER (Austria), speaking as Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said that the election of the new Government in Croatia was one of the recent positive developments in the Balkans.  There had also been promising developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably a significant rise in the number of returning refugees, an improving security situation, a declining military budget and the establishment of the Brcko District.  However, those developments had only occurred after the High Representative had made use of his powers.  Genuine inter-ethnic cooperation was still the exception.

He said that the planned local elections in Kosovo in October and general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina in November were the OSCE’s main project in the Western Balkans.  Free and fair elections were the best instrument for involving the local population and to get them to take responsibility for their own future.  The OSCE would continue to support all efforts to create an environment that enabled all citizens to participate in that process.

Expressing appreciation for cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE, he said that, considering the complexity of the tasks involved and the differences in mandates and structures of the two missions, it was not surprising that initial difficulties had arisen.  Today, however, the common achievements demonstrated that sound cooperation could benefit both organizations, alleviating the burden and responsibilities of each organization.

NASTE CALOVSKI (The former Yugoslav Republic Macedonia) said the history of the Balkans was full of examples of armed conflicts.  Another conflict must be prevented.  While the United Nations and, of course, the Security Council had a responsibility and a duty to discharge, they were not alone in having an important role to play.  The responsibilities of such regional organizations as the OSCE, the European Union and NATO were extremely important.  Also of crucial importance were the responsibilities and duties of all the States of the region and the activities and behaviour of the local factors, the political parties, the non-governmental organizations, the cultural, religious, business and other civil society associations.  The best mechanism was the integration of all States of the region into the Euro-Atlantic structures, in the first place into the European Union and NATO. 

The Balkans should not be seen only as a geographical part of Europe, but as an indivisible part of the political, economic, social, and cultural development of Europe, he said.  While those countries were, at present, going through a difficult period of transition, one should not forget their contribution to the European civilization.  The implementation of resolution 1244 (1999) and the Pact of Stability for South-Eastern Europe were of key importance for the future of South-Eastern Europe.  The role of UNMIK, NATO, KFOR, the European Union and OSCE, as far as Kosovo was concerned, were of paramount importance. 

He said the region was not only preoccupied with the consequences of the wars in the former Yugoslavia; the economic development of all countries of the region was of the highest priority.  The transition to market economies and their integration into the European and global economy were the daily preoccupation of all governments in the region.

ALYAKSANDR SYCHOV (Belarus) said the Balkans had been a focus for the international community now for 10 years, and the Security Council had made a considerable effort towards its stability.  Today’s discussion should not focus on solving disputes and contradictions.  The Council must rather determine the right strategy for United Nations involvement over the next several years. 

Belarus welcomed Council resolution 1244 (1999), he said, which ended the military confrontation in Kosovo.  The United Nations and the Security Council must remain guarantors of dialogue for all in the region. Any action circumventing that dialogue should be seen as contrary to international law and, therefore, inadmissible.  The territorial integrity of all States must be the basis for peace.  The necessary legal instruments for that existed, in the form of the United Nations Charter, the Dayton and Paris agreements, and the Security Council’s resolutions and decision.

Effort by the United Nations had averted the worst possible situation in the Balkans -– the escalation of the conflict, he said.  But many problems still threatened the region.  Equal guarantees for the security of all people and ethnic groups were still not in place.  All people must be able to enjoy security. Equally important was the establishment of a legal framework for talks between all parties to the conflicts. 

Many difficult issues in Kosovo remained unresolved, he said.  Security Council resolutions on Kosovo had led to unprecedented developments, such as the establishment of UNMIK and other mechanisms for the administration of that province. 

He welcomed the regular briefings provided by Special Representatives, and the Secretary- General’s reports, but Belarus believed that all Member States should be involved in the discussion of the future of the Balkans, possibly with the participation of academics and others.  The Secretary-General's proposal for a full discussion of the future of Kosovo was a good one. 

The observation that the Balkan crises, having begun in Kosovo, would end in Kosovo seemed to be coming true, he said.  There was no more important task for the Security Council to undertake than to untangle that particular web of contradictions.

SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) emphasized that faithful implementation of the Dayton accords was central to durable peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a united, sovereign and independent State.  While the Government had fulfilled its obligations to a large extent, the Republika Srpska was lagging behind in vital areas.  Of particular concern was lack of progress in the return of refugees and displaced persons, cooperation with the war crimes Tribunal, freedom of movement across the inter-entity boundary lines, establishment of common State institutions, judicial and police reform, and sustainable economic development.

He said that the three communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina must recognize the benefits of mutual cooperation in the nation-building process.  It was unfortunate that, despite concerns expressed by the international community, the war criminals remained at large, mostly in the territories of the Republika Srpska and Serbia.  The parties must implement the solemn commitments made at Dayton to pursue and apprehend them.

On Kosovo, he said that UNMIK had made a difference there by playing a vital role in restoring peace and encouraging a process of reconciliation and reconstruction.  There was a continuing need to support efforts to establish a harmonious intra-ethnic relationship, economic reconstruction and the institutions of a pluralistic society.

AGIM NESHO (Albania) said the statement made by the representative of the United States this morning was important.  It would help retain the integrity of the Council and keep it from becoming a platform for moral lectures by perpetrators of aggression. 

In some instances, ambiguous and non-committal approaches to problems in the Balkans had meant only temporary solutions resulted, he said.  It was only with the Dayton accord, and the subsequent intervention of NATO and Western Europe, that hope for lasting solution had appeared.  European Union involvement was the key to progress in the region.  Albania was grateful for the assistance the Union had provided.  The Stability Pact would help overcome hate and build a common future for the Balkan States. 

The success of the Stability Pact depended on continued investment in the region, but also on the commitment of the Balkan States themselves, he noted.  The greater the amount of help provided by the international community, the more likely it was the change would come.  The criminal regime of Milosevic was an obstacle to the success of the Pact, and to uniformity of development in the region.  It should continue to be isolated, as that tactic would surely lead to solutions. 

Albania's goal was integration, he said.  It would support Council resolution 1244 (1999) and work for the success of UNMIK's efforts to create a democratic and multi-ethnic mechanism for the governance of Kosovo.  The impending municipal elections would doubtless increase the involvement of Kosovo's Albanian community. 

The best long-term solution for Kosovo would be its integration directly into the European Union, he said.  Any other solution would be artificial and, therefore, temporary.  Albania would continue to work with the international community to seek a solution.  He hoped it would be seen as an important player in the Kosovo situation by the international community.

MUHAMED SACIRBEY (Bosnia and Herzegovina) rejected the notion that religion and ethnicity could be the cause of war.  Rather, they were used as tools by the forces of darkness for their own interest.  For that reason, Bosnia and Herzegovina supported the position taken earlier by the representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom and others regarding the participation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in today's meeting.

MILOS PRICA (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said that, because of the efforts and commitments of the international community since the Dayton Peace Agreement, the situation of his country was very different from four years ago.  While much remained to be done to reach the point of a self-sustained State not dependent on foreign assistance, things were moving in the right direction.  He emphasized the importance of the help in reforming the economic and judiciary systems. 

The instabilities in the region had a huge negative impact on Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said, pointing to the situation in Serbia, the Kosovo crisis and the uncertainties in Montenegro.  He expressed deep concern over the non-democratic regime in Belgrade.  He strongly supported the democratic changes in Montenegro and said the effort to democratize the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were in its and the region's vital interests.  In Kosovo, he expected that UNMIK, with the help of the whole international community, would be able to provide security for all ethnic groups and start the process of reconciliation. 

Any attempt to change borders in the Balkans would lead to another war, he cautioned.  The internationally recognized borders had to be respected by all. Long-term solutions depended on the ability to commit to democratic and free- market reforms and on the European Union's willingness to recognize the countries of the region as equal partners.  Full integration in the European Union was the only way full and final reconciliation could be reached and the whole region become a prosperous one.

SAEED HASAN (Iraq) said he was surprised that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had been excluded from today's meeting.  The practice of exclusion would prevent the open debate from achieving its objective.  The succession to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was an issue that had been raised as an excuse to exclude the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  It was an illogical excuse that conflicted with provisions of the United Nations Charter relating to the participation of States in matters directly affecting their interests.

He said that the exclusion came at a time when there had been a proliferation of open debates in the Security Council.  Rebels from the Democratic Republic of the Congo had been allowed to participate, as had United States Senator Jesse Helms, who had lectured Council members and derided the Charter.  And yet, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a sovereign State, had been prevented from participating.

The flouting of the principles of respect for sovereignty, non-intervention and non-use of force had complicated the already complex situation in the Balkans, he said.  The NATO bombing campaign had been body blow for international law.  The Secretary-General had been correct to say that the operation jeopardized the international security system.  Today's action reflected a destructive policy favouring influential international parties at the expense of peace in the Balkans.

IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said the protected crises in South-Eastern Europe had challenged the international community in many respects.  It had strained its collective security resources, drawn on its humanitarian and economic resources, and tested its legal and moral resolve.  Despite some notable achievements, problems remained, such as the return of refugees and displaced people, demining, rebuilding, economic and social reconstruction and development, and healing and reconciliation.  Those would remain standing objectives for years to come.

Most important, he said, the countries of the region had yet to take charge of their own fate, and find their respective ways to sustainable peace, the rule of law, the protection of human rights and economic development. 

There were some grounds for optimism, he noted.  The region's people strengthened their resolve to break out of the spiral of instability and face the challenges of full democratization. 

He welcomed the recognition given to Croatia's efforts by Member States today, he said.  Croatia was a good example, demonstrating that positive change was both possible, and welcomed and rewarded by the international community.  The willingness of the European Union to speed up Croatia's integration process was of extraordinary importance.  It was a signal that, if conditions were met, Europe's door was open. 

Croatia welcomed French President Chirac’s intended examination of ways to integrate the Balkan States into the European mainstream, he said.  The European Union-Western Balkan Summit should be supported by a broad range of countries. 

Since the elections, Croatia had made considerable progress in joining political, economic and security institutions and mechanisms, and in developing good relations with its neighbours, he said.  It was also conducting an active regional policy aimed at stable peace, including implementation of the refugee return programme and participation in the Stability Pact.  It was fully committed to Dayton and supportive of sustainable peace efforts in Bosnia. 

Croatia had improved, Bosnia was improving, but the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was still a cause for serious concern, he said.  The crisis had now returned to the place of its origin.  The same ideology and the same regime that had caused so much suffering through its aggression against Bosnia and Croatia was now causing problems over Kosovo and Montenegro.  It was in Croatia’s interest to see the Federal Republic's integration, but that was unrealistic given the current regime. 

Cooperation between the other successor States was growing, he said.  Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia were now united by common interest, and were involved in joint efforts to resolve the Yugoslavia succession issue on the basis of the equality of all five successors.  The equality of the successor States -— rejected by the Federal Republic -– was a prerequisite for stability in the region.  The Council had affirmed their equality, but the resolution had never been fully implemented.  Some words he had heard today offered encouragement that it might be implemented. 

Another issue threatening sustainability was that of accountability for the criminal events that occurred in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, he said.  The Tribunal's actions must reflect the extent and level of involvement in those crimes.  The Federal Republic remained a serious obstacle to that.  While the criminals remained at large, justice, healing and reconciliation were difficult to achieve. 

Croatia and Bosnia had jointly raised genocide claims against the Federal Republic at the International Court of Justice, he said.  Those claims were not against Serbs, but against that State's authorities.  In a joint statement,  Bosnia and Croatia had expressed their belief that their cooperation before the International Court of Justice should contribute to reconciliation, democratization and peace and stability in the region. 

The efforts by the international community would only prove successful, and the stability of region would only be ensured, when the countries assumed responsibility for their own future, he said.  That might be some time in the future, but it was a goal worthy of further effort and investment by the international community. 

Mr. BILDT said that the cooperation between the Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Deputy Permanent Representative demonstrated the strides taken towards reconciliation in that country.  The two had previously been on opposite sides in one of the bitterest wars of recent times.  Strong support had been expressed today for the efforts and approach of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he added.

While noting Council members' concern over the fate of missing persons from both Albanian and Serb ethnic groups in Kosovo, he stressed that thousands of people also remained missing from the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Croatia.  Efforts to find out their fate must not cease.

Concern had also been stressed about the human rights situation in Kosovo, he said.  Both UNMIK and KFOR were doing their utmost to safeguard the human rights of each and everyone.  The fact that they had not always succeeded did not mean they were not always trying.  Yesterday morning, six mortars had landed near a monastery that was a treasury of Orthodox culture in Europe.  Everything possible must be done to counter that sort of violence.

Regarding Montenegro, he said that federal authorities in Belgrade that had been abusing their powers were on a slow, but steady, collision course with the Montenegrin Government.  The collision, when it occurred, would have negative consequences.  The international community must give Montenegro the political, economic and other support it needed to enable it to pursue the difficult balancing act it had been doing.

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