ALAN THOMSON ( United Kingdom) said his delegation shared the concern that progress in the standards process had slowed, and he called on the Provisional Institutions, as well as Pristina, to step up the process, particularly in the areas of returns and improving the situation of minorities, among others. The United Kingdom joined the World Health Organization (WHO) and others in the international community urging those Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian refugees to leave lead-poisoned camps. He also urged Kosovo leaders and Pristina to work together on matters related to missing persons, which was a priority humanitarian issue.
He went on to say that Kosovo Serbs must be actively encouraged to rightfully take their place in Kosovo institutions, which was the only way for them to take part in political life. Every post-conflict situation was different, and to try to squeeze all situations into a single mold was to risk achieving the Council’s overall objectives of ensuring sustainable peace and security in a particular region. Any settlement resulting from the current future status process should conclude during 2006 and could not disregard the aspirations of 90 per cent of Kosovo’s population.
He stressed that independence was an option – indeed, some would say it was the only option -- to bring peace and security to the region. But the Kosovo Government must demonstrate to the international community and the Security Council that it was genuinely interested in a multi-ethnic Kosovo. Kosovo’s status, whatever it was to be, must be fair to all the interests there, and must promote multi-ethnicity. Now was the time for leaders in Serbia and Kosovo to show the political courage and vision for the futures of both Kosovo and Serbia. The United Kingdom would continue to work to build a sustainable and peaceful future for Kosovo and the region as a whole.