UNITED NATIONS -- The assistant secretary-general for UN peacekeeping operations, Edmond Mulet, has told the UN Security Council the resumption of dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, after a three-month break, is helping ease tensions.
Mulet cautioned on February 8 that significant political challenges remain. He said to move forward "close cooperation between all stakeholders on the ground will be crucial."
Differences were apparent in comments from the Serbian and Kosovo foreign ministers when they spoke to the council.
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said ethnic Serbs in Kosovo live in "ghetto-like" conditions and had some other unflattering depictions of life for Serbs in Kosovo.
"I actually would like to use this opportunity to invite the Security Council to visit Serbia, including Kosovo, and to see for yourself what is the situation like," Jeremic said.
"You will see for yourself, ladies and gentlemen, barbed wire; you will see a ghetto-like situation in certain parts of this province, and you will see that today in the whole of Europe the most endangered society is the one of Serbs, at least in some parts of the province."
Kosovar Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj had a more positive portrayal of life in Kosovo and suggested those criticizing his country had not been there recently.
"Kosovo is a viable state, and in the last four years -- with the support of all of you, and I would like to thank you for that support, and the support of the key state partners -- we were able to build a country, a society and a state from scratch, which is today a very multiethnic democracy," Hoxhaj said.
"Whatever has been said some minutes ago, it doesn't reflect the reality there. Whatever has been said some minutes ago is just a description of a world which doesn't exist because those who are describing Kosovo, they never visit Kosovo, they don't know what Kosovo looks like," he said.
Both Jeremic and Hoxhaj mentioned that dialogue and negotiations are the only way forward in the region.