Doc. 11363
30 July 2007

Current situation in Kosovo
Recommendation 1780 (2007)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers
adopted at the 1002nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (12 July 2007)

1.       The Committee of Ministers has closely followed the Parliamentary Assembly’s work on the situation in Kosovo and would like to submit the following elements for a reply to Recommendation 1780 (2007).

2.       Within the framework established by the United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1244, the Committee of Ministers has ensured that the Council of Europe contributes to the effective implementation of the principles and standards concerning democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Kosovo. Particular attention has been paid to the protection of the rights of communities and their members, in particular of the Serbian community, as well as to the protection of the Orthodox heritage. Close co-operation has been established with the relevant authorities as part of the international community’s overall efforts. The impact of this co-operation has been regularly reviewed, particularly during exchanges between the Ministers’ Deputies and the successive special representatives of the UN Secretary General. The most recent exchange of this kind was with Mr Rücker, in the framework of the Rapporteur Group on Democracy (GR-DEM), on 30 January 2007.

3.       The Committee of Ministers has fully respected the autonomy of the political and diplomatic process for the research of a sustainable settlement conducted under the aegis of the United Nations. Like the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers regrets that it has not yet been possible to achieve a mutually acceptable solution. It reiterates its support for a sustainable and comprehensive solution making it possible for all refugees and internally displaced persons to return home in safety and with dignity. Such a solution, facilitated by the international community, would guarantee the long-term stability of the region as well as fulfil the conditions for its unimpeded economic and social development.

4.       The United Nations Security Council is considering a proposal on Kosovo status presented by Mr Ahtisaari, Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations for the future status process for Kosovo. Whilst discussions on the future status are ongoing at the United Nations, the Council of Europe is engaged in supporting important work to ensure the guarantee of the rights of everyone living in Kosovo and of those who would like to return there.

5.       At the request of interested partners and international organisations, the Council of Europe’s offer of help, in its spheres of competence, will be reiterated, while in due course taking account of the prospects which would be afforded by the adoption of a new legal and institutional framework. The main lines of the assistance on offer correspond on the whole to those mapped out by the Assembly. The Secretary General has made preliminary proposals to the Committee of Ministers. However, it will not be possible to fill in the details until a final settlement has been approved and in-depth consultations with all parties concerned have taken place, allowing to define the exact nature of the Organisation’s contribution. This applies in particular with regard to its involvement in any future international civilian presence.

6.       With regard to the specific recommendations made in Recommendation 1780 (2007), the Committee of Ministers would like to make the following preliminary comments: