Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on Kosovo
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Kosovo, 14 November 2017, New York.
Let me begin by thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, Dr Zahir Tanin, for his informative briefing to the Council today. I would also like to thank Foreign Minister Dačić and Ambassador Çitaku for their statements to the Council.
We welcome the formation, since the Council last considered this agenda item, of the new government in Kosovo. We now encourage all political actors, both inside and outside of the government, to engage in constructive dialogue and to continue implementation of the reforms necessary to strengthen the rule of law and the fight against corruption, and to stimulate Kosovo's economic development and to create employment opportunities.
It is positive that the first round of the Municipal and Mayoral elections in October was genuinely competitive and peaceful in most parts of Kosovo. However, we regret that there were cases of threatening behaviour and intimidation in certain Serb-majority municipalities in the run up to the elections.
The future of both Serbia and Kosovo lies within the European Union. To achieve their European perspective, normalization of relations between the two countries is essential. Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are pivotal for a stable, peaceful and prosperous Western Balkans. In this regard, it is crucial that all political leaders in the region refrain from provocative actions and statements. It is essential that the status issue does not hamper Kosovo's European perspective, or its membership of international organisations.
We welcome the resumption of the EU facilitated dialogue, which provides an important contribution to the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Pristina and Belgrade must now intensify efforts to implement their respective parts of the agreements reached. In this regard, we welcome the recent integration of Serb judges into the Kosovo justice system as a most positive development. It is critical that parallel structures in Serb majority areas are dismantled, and that the Association of Serb Municipalities is established in a way that strengthens links between Kosovo-Serb citizens and the Pristina government and increases public trust in dialogue.
The United Nations and UNMIK have made an invaluable contribution to the progress made in Kosovo since the end of the conflict. Building on this progress to create a truly peaceful and prosperous Kosovo, with the inclusion of women and youth, will require constant vigilance and unwavering commitment by all political leaders. The EU integration process, including through the support of EULEX, provides the framework to deal with remaining challenges. By continuing to work towards Kosovo's European perspective, Kosovo's leaders can deliver on the expectations of their people for a better future.
Finally, we remain interested in receiving Special Representative Tanin's views on the possible prospects of further downsizing of the mission's structure, size and tasks, as well as the possibility of adjusting the reporting and briefing period from three to six months.