Iceland, as a member of the European Economic Area, aligns itself fully with the statement just made by Ambassador Richard Ryan on behalf of the European Union, its welcome to Mr. Holkeri and strong support for his work and that of UNMIK and KFOR. I would also like to state our appreciation to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro for his participation here today.
Iceland recognises along with its partners the need for long term practical commitment to the rebuilding of the Western Balkan region. In this spirit, at the request of the Secretary General of NATO, Iceland took over running of Pristina airport from March 2003 which included some 200 persons from 13 countries. Iceland provided both air traffic controllers and fire-fighting personnel.
During this period the management of the airport has been upgraded to full ICAO standards. In looking to future sustainability, Iceland has emphasised the preparation of local operatives. Some 50 fire fighters and 20 airtraffic controllers have received training. UNMIK has taken over control of the airport but will continue to be assisted by the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration on a contractual basis.
We emphasize the continuation of the peacful economic and social reconstruction of Kosovo, including a constructive confidence building dialogue between the communities and we urge the parties concerned to cooperate fully with UNMIK and KFOR and renounce violance and thereby facilitate the political process designed to determine Kosovo's future based on Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).
Thank you Mr. President.