Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations New York at the Security Council debate on UNMIK (14 June 2013)

Thank you Mr. President,

I thank Special Representative Farid Zarif for his important briefing.

We thank Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Prime Hashim Thaci for their compelling statements.

We welcome the peace and normalization agreement signed by Serbia and Kosovo on April 19 this year. This indeed is a landmark. The two Prime Ministers have underlined that this is a historic moment for the two countries to improve relations and forge good neighborly ties.

Leaders on both sides have shown courage and foresight to reach out, to explore common ground, and to make the necessary compromises.

They have succeeded against heavy odds. We congratulate them and the people of the two countries over this achievement. This should be a new dawn in this region.

We appreciate High Representative Catherine Ashton for her skillful mediation which made this agreement possible; and we salute the European Union for its steadfast commitment to peace in the Balkans.

The signing of this agreement increases the prospects of reconciliation between Belgrade and Pristina; and promotes peace in the region. It has a built-in potential to save future generations of Serbia and Kosovo from the scourge of strife. It is an opportunity for the region to transcend the narrative and reality of ethnic cleanings.

Ratifications of the agreement by Parliaments of Serbia and Kosovo demonstrate the collective desire of the people on both sides to resolve outstanding issues and move towards a common European future.

We laud the undertaking that neither side will block each other's paths for integration with the European Union.

Mr. President,

Implementation of the agreement is as important as its signing. We urge both sides to conclude arrangements for implementing the agreement. They should not be deterred by those who seek to obstruct the path of peace.

It is important for the leaders to build support for the agreement amongst their communities and constituencies.

Holding of elections in northern Kosovo in October 2013 and integration of Serbs into the national mainstream are important benchmarks. Ethnic divisions and barriers must blur overtime.

We are glad to learn that the situation in Kosovo is generally calm. This opportunity should be used to let peace and stability grow. But we should also heed the warnings by Special Representative Zarif and Prime Minister Dacic that the stability in Kosovo is fragile.

In the implementation phase, therefore, close coordination between NATO, OSCE and UNMIK will be extremely important. UNMIK, under the effective leadership of Special Representative Zarif, especially has a key role to play.

We hope that the leadership of both countries would continue to find solutions to all outstanding problems, and move their people away from the legacy of conflict to cooperation. Rapprochement should lead to new bonds between the two neighbors.

The agreement also gives fresh ground to the Council to bridge differences on Kosovo.

Pakistan recognized Kosovo's statehood late last year. We sincerely hope that the people of Kosovo will grow and prosper in a stable environment as they rebuild their nation into a unitary and functional state.

Pakistan wishes both states well. This is a historic moment. It must be captured by all, but primarily by Serbia and Kosovo.

I thank you.