HL Deb 17 November 2003 vol 654 cc245-6WA
Lord Grabiner

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their policy on the approach outlined, in Belgrade and Pristina, by the United States' Under-secretary of State for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman, for the further implementation of UNSCR 1244. [HL5492]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Over the past months it has become clear that the stability of Kosovo, and the Balkans is increasingly affected by a lack of a clear way forward on its final status within the terms of UNSCR 1244. The Contact Group has therefore designed a new approach.

It is based on a review mechanism, conducted in consultation with UNMIK, the Contact Group and the PISG, to monitor Kosovo's; progress on implementation of the internationally endorsed standards set by the UN. There will be quarterly reviews with a first opportunity for a formal assessment of progress in mid-2005, or earlier if sufficient progress has been made. If the assessment is positive then the UN Security Council will consider whether a process should be initiated for a final settlement as laid down in UNSCR 1244. In the event of a negative assessment, more work would need to be done on the standards, and a date set for a further review. The Contact Group's intention is not to express a view on final status itself. This would be premature. The aim is to advance standards, assess how much progress has been made on those standards, and judge whether or not such progress could justify addressing final status as UNSCR 1244 requires.

This approach was outlined on 4 and 5 November in Belgrade and Pristina by the United States' Under-secretary for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman, with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Kosovo Harri Holkeri and local Contact Group representatives. UNMIK has a key role in this strategy. SRSG Holkeri has our full support. EU High Representative Javier Solana has also welcomed this strategy.