Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, November 6, 2013)

Kosovo – Municipal elections
Syria – Geneva II


Kosovo – Municipal elections

France welcomes the generally smooth conduct of the municipal elections in Kosovo on November 3, 2013. These were the first local elections held throughout the territory of Kosovo. Voter turnout was on the whole satisfactory, notably in the Serbian municipalities in southern Kosovo. This is a sign that the Serbian community is assuming an ever-increasing level of ownership of the institutions in Pristina. It’s a positive step toward democracy in Kosovo.

The generally smooth conduct of these elections can be attributed to all parties, in Belgrade as well as in Pristina, which facilitated the high voter turnout in this ballot. It also has a great deal to do with OSCE’s role as a facilitator in the four municipalities in northern Kosovo. It’s also down to the commitment of the EU and the Election Observation Mission deployed on this occasion.

However, France condemns the violence perpetrated in certain polling stations in the municipality of North Mitrovica just before they closed by a minority of radicals opposed to the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. It would like full light to be shed on these incidents which prevented some citizens from exercising their civil and political rights.

France welcomes the fact that Ms. Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will today, November 6, receive in Brussels, the heads of state and government of Kosovo and Serbia in order to discuss the rest of the electoral process and the full implementation of the agreement adopted on April 19. The normalization of relations between the two countries, which France is calling for, must be vigorously pursued.

 

Syria – Geneva II

Russian and American sources are talking about Geneva II being postponed until December. What can you say about that?

No date has been officially announced by the UN. The UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative stated that every effort would be made to ensure that the conference would take place as swiftly as possible and announced that a further preparatory meeting would take place in Geneva on November 25.

What emerged from the meetings that were held yesterday in Geneva in preparation for Geneva II?

The discussions that took place in Geneva yesterday between the permanent members of the Security Council, and then with Syria’s neighboring countries (Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) and several humanitarian agencies were helpful.

These discussions revealed that there is consensus on the need to hold a Geneva II Conference as soon as possible.

Beyond the political dimension of the crisis, the discussions focused on the humanitarian and health situation in Syria which is continuing to deteriorate in a way that is extremely troubling. Together with our partners, we stressed the need for the Syrian regime to immediately comply with its humanitarian obligations, notably contained in the Security Council Presidential Statement of October 2.