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Serbia/Kosovo

Published on July 23, 2010
Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice – Statement by Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

Paris, July 22, 2010

On 22 July, the International Court of Justice delivered its Advisory Opinion regarding the compliance of Kosovo’s declaration of independence with international law. This opinion clearly affirms that Kosovo’s declaration of independence does not violate either international law or UNSCR 1244, as France had always maintained, and I welcome this.

Bearing in mind the probable disappointment of the Serbs and possible satisfaction of the Kosovars, I reaffirm to these two countries my personal friendship and that of the French people.

The Court’s opinion consolidates Kosovo’s independence, effective for more than two years and already recognized by 69 States. Kosovo’s independence is irreversible. The ICJ’s opinion marks a milestone by putting an end to the legal debate on this issue, which will enable all parties to devote themselves, from now on, to other outstanding matters.

I also pay tribute to the work the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mrs Catherine Ashton, has done over the last few weeks to reconcile all the parties’ viewpoints.

We urge all the States that were waiting for this Advisory Opinion in order to take a decision on recognition of the new State not to delay any longer.

Kosovo and Serbia must now also find the path of political dialogue in order to overcome, pragmatically, the remaining concrete problems between Belgrade and Priština, in the interest of everyone and, above all, of Kosovo’s Serbian community.

Such a dialogue is important for the stability of the region. It is also necessary because the two States, Serbia and Kosovo, aspire to become Member States of the European Union, and because their accession will presuppose that they have established normal relations between Member States enabling them to work together on building Europe./.

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