Leaders must find positive pathway on Kosovo for benefit of all, SRSG Ziadeh tells Security Council

Security Council
18 Oct 2022

Leaders must find positive pathway on Kosovo for benefit of all, SRSG Ziadeh tells Security Council

18 October, 2022 – Political leaders must choose between issuing threats or good will gestures in Kosovo – and should decide in favour of all members of society.

A message to continue on a pathway of positive leadership, including within the framework of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, was delivered by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK Caroline Ziadeh during her biannual UN Security Council briefing today.

“Since last spring, we all observed several escalations in political rhetoric…as well as a few moments of acute tension on the ground. These threatened to set back many of the gains previously achieved through the EU-facilitated dialogue,” she told Member States.

Instances of political posturing had characterized much of the past six months, she said, including on aspects such as the energy roadmap, people’s freedom of movement, the validity of identity documents, and the association/community of Serb majority municipalities. Diplomatic interventions and a dialogue meeting in August had resulted in “temporary relief”, courtesy of deadline extensions – while the situation remained tenuous with developments in Kosovo inevitably affected by Europe’s current security environment.

“There are many choices to be made by political leaders in the days ahead about how to manage their ambitions and objectives given the contours of wider economic and security uncertainty at this time.  Choices between cooperation or division, between threats or gestures of good will, between compromises or zero-sum calculations,” she said.

SRSG Ziadeh emphasised the importance of reaching full implementation of all high court decisions and ensuring full respect for human rights, including social and economic rights, property and freedom of movement for all communities.

At the same time, she commended positive examples of leadership witnessed amid challenging moments – leadership that had the potential to impact people’s daily lives. “The government of Kosovo remains focused on addressing critical issues in relation to the rule of law; efforts we expect are noted by European member states weighing their positions on the visa and travel regime for the people of Kosovo.”  In this regard, the Head of UNMIK said that the international community must also shoulder its share of responsibility to support a better future for Kosovo.

SRSG Ziadeh thanked the Mission’s partners, particularly KFOR whose continuing presence ensures a safe and secure environment “at times when the line between political provocation and overt belligerence blurs”.

UNMIK remained focused upon core areas, building trust and empowering changemakers, SRSG Ziadeh said.

In the past six months, the mission has hosted the fourth UN Youth Assembly, the largest multiethnic youth forum in Kosovo; held the Global Open Day on Women, Peace and Security to raise the profile of women’s participation in political processes; supported language rights initiatives; and convened 37 CSOs from across Kosovo’s communities to launch the third annual human rights report.

SRSG Ziadeh concluded her briefing by endorsing the recent message of the UN Secretary General António Guterres who used his 2022 UN General Assembly opening address to call for action and dialogue:

“I am now more and more convinced that any agreement between Belgrade and Pristina can only be achieved and implemented with a high degree of public involvement and ownership… we look forward to cooperating with the institutions of Kosovo based on good faith and full respect for one another,” she said.

Read the full statement of SRSG Ziadeh in English here (PDF)

Read the full statement of SRSG Ziadeh in Albanian here (PDF)

Read the full statement of SRSG Ziadeh in Serbian here (PDF)

Leaders must find positive pathway on Kosovo for benefit of all, SRSG Ziadeh tells Security Council

Security Council