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Statement by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin at the Security Council's Public Meeting on UNMIK

At the outset, I wish to thank the Secretary-General for his report (S/2006/707) and the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Rucker - whom I congratulate on his assumption of that important post - for his briefing. We also welcome Ms. Raskovic-Ivic, President of the Coordination Centre of the Republic of Serbia for Kosovo and Metohija, and thank her for addressing our meeting.

We have noted that during the past few months, as a result of the joint efforts of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and Kosovo's Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, standards implementation has made significant progress in a number of priority areas. However, that progress is not sufficiently comprehensive; challenges remain, particularly in areas such as security, refugee returns, culture and ethnic integration. The majority ethnic group in Kosovo bears a major responsibility for creating a stable social environment conducive to the harmonious coexistence of ethnic groups. Other parties should also actively cooperate in that effort. Many aspects of standards implementation have a bearing on the future status process for Kosovo. We hope that, with UNMIK's help, Kosovo's Provisional Institutions of Self-Government and their leaders can overcome these difficulties and implement the standards in a comprehensive and effective manner.

Since the launching of the future status process for Kosovo at the end of last year, the Serbian Government and Kosovo authorities, with the good offices and coordination provided by the Secretary-General's Special Envoy, Mr. Ahtisaari, have held many rounds of direct talks. The first high-level meeting was held in July this year. That kind of dialogue has enabled the two parties to fully understand each other's positions and to achieve some common understanding; thus it is essential in order to maintain the momentum of cooperation and the search for a sustainable solution. China welcomes the continuation of this dialogue and supports efforts to reach a settlement acceptable to both parties through peaceful negotiations.

The Kosovo issue concerns the stability and prosperity of the Balkans and the surrounding areas. In order to resolve that issue, it is necessary to hear the views of all the parties. Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is an important principle of international law. China has always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries in the Balkans. We have always believed that, in order to find an appropriate and comprehensive solution to the Kosovo issue, we must effectively implement the provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions, encourage both parties and help them to reach a compromise through consultations and negotiations. We hope that the parties will continue to move the political process forward with a view to resolving the Kosovo issue in a spirit of sincerity and pragmatism.

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