Statement by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, OIC Group Meeting on Kosova

Baki İlkin 13.03.2007
Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to thank Mr. Surroi for his briefing today. Turkey enjoys close and special relations with Kosovo, due to strong historical, cultural and human bonds with the region. We have a substantial minority in Kosovo. Prime Minister Çeku, who paid a private visit to Turkey last week, had meetings with both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.

We recognize that the current situation in Kosovo is neither sustainable nor reversible to the pre-1999 status quo. Therefore, we fully support Special Envoy Ahtisaari's status proposal. However, we hope that the package will not be a source for potential new tensions in the region.

The new UN Security Council resolution within the framework of Mr. Ahtisaari's proposal, which will supersede Resolution 1244, seems to be the only way to maintain stability in Kosovo and in its greater region.

It is also high time to reflect on "the day after". We now know that the international civilian and military presence will be maintained in Kosovo for a certain period of time following the settlement. We welcome this wise and realistic approach for ensuring the security and stability in Kosovo.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey's contribution to Kosovo will naturally evolve after the final settlement according to new requirements. We are ready to continue contributing to Kosovo within the framework of the proposed International Civilian Office and the International Steering Group as well. As a contributor to the efforts of the international community aimed at maintaining peace, security and stability in Kosovo, Turkey expects to have a fair representation in the International Civilian Office and International Steering Group. This would also be in line with the expectations of the Islamic Countries.

As the international community, our primary objective should be the creation of a viable and stable future for all communities and minorities constituting Kosovo.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.