Securıty, Stabılıty And Peace In The Balkans

Speech

First of all I would like to express gratitude to our hosts, the Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies (TASAM) and Tekirdağ Governorship, together with Namık Kemal University who, by organizing this International Congress, gave us the opportunity to meet each other and exchange views on issues in which we are all interested, since we share the same region, its past, present and future....

Mr. Chairman, Honorable guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all I would like to express gratitude to our hosts, the Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies (TASAM) and Tekirdağ Governorship, together with Namık Kemal University who, by organizing this International Congress, gave us the opportunity to meet each other and exchange views on issues in which we are all interested, since we share the same region, its past, present and future. Even when we take different positions we must listen to each other and make efforts as to provide better and prosperous future for the generations to come.

Unfortunately the history of the Balkans proved many times that this task was not easy to be fulfilled. Last century two World Wars, two Balkan Wars, interethnic confrontations and civil wars took place in this region. Security and regional stability were always under some kind of a threat. In order to pre-vent such conflicts an international system for protecting basic, legitimate national interests of every country, small or large, rich or poor was set up in the world since 1945. Its binding principles include the sovereign equality of states, the respect for territorial integrity and the inviolability of international-ly recognized borders. Until recently, in general, this system has brought unprecedented prosperity and relative peace.

Nowadays we are faced with a dangerous development that does not affect only our region but has a much wider international dimension. The uni-lateral Declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in Serbian southern province of Kosovo and Metohija from the Republic of Serbia is definitely threatening security and regional stability of the region. As a result of this illegal act, the international system is becoming more unstable, more insecure, and more acrimonious. Because of this flagrant violation of the fundamental norms of international conduct, a grave mockery has been made of the universal principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and enriched, in the European space, by the Statute of the Council of Europe and the Helsinki Final Act.

As a consequence what have we today?

A great majority of the states in the world are aware that this illegitimate act of the provisional Albanian authorities in Pristina has established a truly dangerous precedent that fundamentally undermines the principles on which the contemporary international relations are built. This precedent legitimizes the doctrine of imposing solutions to ethnic conflicts. Also it legitimizes the act of unilateral secession by a provincial or local authority. The right to self-determination is being transformed into a right to independence. It legitimizes the forced partition of internationally-recognized sovereign states. And finally it violates the commitment to the peaceful, mutually-acceptable resolution of disputes in Europe.

In light of these facts, it is evident that this unilateral declaration of inde-pendence is nothing but an attempt to create a fait accompli and impose an outcome to the process of determining the future status of Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija in a way that bypasses the authority and jurisdiction of the United Nations Security Council.

Unfortunately there are thirty-something countries in the world that fur-thered the secessionist cause of the Kosovo Albanians by recognizing unilat-erally declared independence. These countries did it ignoring UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act and the Security Council Resolution 1244 and neglecting the possibility that this precedent might happen now to the others including themselves.

At this point the position of Serbia is very clear. Serbia will never recog-nize the attempt by the authorities in Pristina to unilaterally secede from Serbia. Serbia calls upon the countries that have recognized unilateral Declaration of Kosovo to reconsider such decision, while calling on those that have not, to stay on that course and to help us continue to defend the interna-tional system from being fundamentally undermined. Only genuine dialogue and negotiations can bring long lasting solution for all people in the region.

Here we should ask ourselves will the province of Kosovo, as an entity-in-limbo that cannot acquire international legitimacy arising out of member-ship in United Nations, be able to achieve sustainable prosperity without Belgrade.

We should also ask ourselves, particularly here in Tekirdağ, has regional stability and cooperation been increased by the perverse choice that our neigh-bors are being forced to make - to choose between Serbia and Kosovo.

In this situation further respect of Security Council Resolution 1244 is the only link with the international order that provides protection of Serbs and other non-Albanians and functioning of institutions in the province. Attempts of installing EULEX (European Union Kosovo Mission) mission without authorization of the United Nations Security Council will certainly not improve the situation, on the contrary.

Unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo evidently does not contribute to European perspective of the region we are all dedicated to. Instead of quick and smooth integration of the whole region into EU, because of UDI of Kosovo, we are facing now the possibility of having a long lasting frozen dispute that threatens regional stability and prosperity.

Serbia is resolute to protect its territory by all diplomatic and political means. Defending itself Serbia defends international order that the whole international community, including the region of Balkans badly needs as to secure its present and future. Serbia is sure that, as time passes, her stances will be proved as genuine and correct and for the benefit of all in Kosovo -Albanians, Serbs, Turks and the others.

Finally what can be a message from the respectful participants of the International Balkan Congress in Tekirdağ. I don't think that many partici-pants would be against a principally based position of full respect of interna-tional law, UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act and the Security Council Resolution 1244 as a firm guarantee for regional stability, security and sus-tainable development of the Balkans which is an inseparable part of Europe. If the power of law and not that of might and force prevails we all have a chance to find peaceful solutions to for the outstanding problems.

At the end I would like to thank for your patients and to express once again gratitude to the organizers of this meeting since we in the Balkans need gatherings like this to exchange opinions, to better understand each other, to improve dialogue and cooperation and to undertake steps toward prosperous future of the only region we have and share.

Thank you.

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