Wien, 22. July 2010 Press release

Spindelegger on ICJ advisory opinion on Kosovo: „Belgrade and Pristina must now leave the status issue behind them“

Foreign Minister appeals to Belgrade to react with a sense of proportion and realism

Vienna, 22 July 2010 - „The advisory opinion of the ICJ now available confirms the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence. It therefore also confirms the rightness of the Austrian decision to recognise Kosovo as an independent country“ said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in a first reaction to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo published today.

„The opinion should clear the way for further recognitions, and thus significantly facilitate the inclusion of this young state into the international community. I hope that the European Union will soon reach a new agreement on this issue and can further expand its engagement in Kosovo” the Foreign Minister continued.

„The opinion offers no reason for triumphant calls from one or the other side. Instead, the opinion should be taken by Belgrade and Pristina as an opportunity to open a new chapter in the relations between Serbia and Kosovo“ emphasized Spindelegger. First, it is necessary to develop a „modus vivendi“, and to embark on the solution of urgent practical problems. Open issues in areas such as the return of refugees, energy, transport, customs, jurisdiction, or the protection of cultural goods can only be solved through dialogue and are of immediate importance for the people concerned. „Belgrade and Pristina must find the way to a constructive and direct dialogue; only then can coexistence function in a lasting and peaceful manner.“

„I appeal to Serbia to react with a sense of proportion and realism. Belgrade and Pristina should now leave the status issue behind them and concentrate all their efforts on reforms, economic development, and progress toward the EU. Austria shall use its best endeavours to support them“, the Foreign Minister concluded.

For more information, contact:
Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
Mr. Alexander Schallenberg
Press Officer of the Foreign Minister
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3265
Fax: ++43 (1) 535 50 91
Email: kabbm(at)bmeia.gv.at