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RESOLUTION 359 on ENCOURAGING STABILITY IN THE WESTERN BALKANS

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presented by the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security

The Assembly,

1.     Reaffirming its strong commitment to peace, stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans;

2.       Acknowledging the major responsibilities that NATO and the European Union have taken on in the region, and stressing that the success of their missions requires close co-operation between them, both at the strategic level and on the ground;

3.     Convinced that the future of the Western Balkans lies in their full integration into Euro‑Atlantic institutions;

4.     Welcoming the recent admission of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme and the progress made towards the conclusion of Stabilisation and Association Agreements with the EU;

5.     Recognising that the forthcoming summit in Bucharest in April 2008 is an opportunity for NATO to elevate further its relations with those Western Balkan countries that are assessed to be ready to go further and that express their willingness to do so;

6.       Concerned, however, by the stalemate on police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina and by the slow pace of other reforms, which have so far prevented the termination of the High Representative’s mandate;

7.       Hoping that  the delays in the adoption of a new Constitution in Montenegro will be overcome soon;

8.       Stressing that Kosovo remains the most pressing security issue in the region;

9.       Recognising that UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244, which remains the basis for the current status of Kosovo, organises a temporary solution, which cannot be maintained indefinitely;

10.     Expressing its strong support for current negotiations under the auspices of the Contact Group’s troika;

11.     Stressing the need for the international community to speak with a unified voice, as stability in the Balkans is in the interest of all Allies and Partners of the Alliance;

12.     Affirming its strong commitment to the consolidation of multiethnic societies, which has been one of the underlying principles of the international community’s approach to the Western Balkans since 1991;

13.     URGES governments and parliaments of member and partner countries of the North Atlantic Alliance:

a.     to continue to support the governments and parliaments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia on their country's path to further integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions;

b.     to assist them in particular with the development of institutional capacities and the reform of the defence and security sectors;

c.      to promote the full integration of the entire region in Euro-Atlantic institutions conditional upon the continuation of the reform process and full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ;

d.      to retain an international military and civilian presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo as long as the situation requires;

e.      to ensure the best possible co-operation among the international organisations on the ground, and in particular between NATO and the EU;

f.      to support current negotiations on Kosovo's future status in the framework of the Contact Group’s troika and to strive for a settlement reached by consensus and endorsed by the UN Security Council;

g.     to spare no effort to promote a unanimous approach in the run-up to and the aftermath of a settlement of Kosovo’s final status;

h.      to ensure in particular a strong legal basis for the future international presence in Kosovo;

14.     URGES the government, the parliament and all political forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina :

a.      to demonstrate their firm commitment to the consolidation of a functioning multiethnic state through the continuation of the reform process;

b.      to put an end to fruitless delay over police reform;

c.     to re-engage as soon as possible in talks on a future constitutional framework, which should ensure the supremacy of citizenship over ethnicity, as well as the full protection of minority rights in accordance with international standards;

15.     URGES the government, the parliament and all political forces in Montenegro :

a.      to promote the rapid adoption of a constitution, which should be supported by all political forces and all ethnic groups, and form the basis for a functioning multiethnic state;

b.      to keep up efforts to implement the reform agenda, and consolidate capacities for democratic oversight of defence and security;

16.    URGES the governments, the parliaments and all political forces in Kosovo and Serbia :

a.      to engage fully and in good faith in the status process and related talks;

b.      to refrain from any statement or action susceptible to fuel tensions in the region;

c.      to commit to respect and protect fully the rights of minorities, as well as the cultural and religious heritage of Kosovo, regardless of the outcome of the status process;

d.      to spare no effort to rebuild mutual confidence and create conditions that would allow displaced Serbs and other ethnic groups to return to Kosovo.

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