Pristina and Belgrade must engage more actively in the EU-facilitated Dialogue, SRSG Ziadeh tells Security Council
In her first biannual address to the Security Council as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of UNMIK, Ms. Caroline Ziadeh urged Pristina and Belgrade to engage constructively and more actively in the EU-facilitated Dialogue.
“While this process has led to meaningful results on various practical matters, a comprehensive normalisation of relations between the two sides so far continues to be elusive,” SRSG Ziadeh said, marking the 9th anniversary of the First Agreement of Principles Governing the Normalisation of Relations. “Reconciliation and addressing grievances of the past should reinforce the pursuit of important strategic objectives,” she added.
Acknowledging the ongoing situation in Ukraine and its continued impact on European security and economy, SRSG Ziadeh reiterated that the resilience of democratic institutions throughout the Balkans is a crucial factor in maintaining a secure and democratic Europe.
Shocks to Kosovo’s economy, however, were building up well before the onset of these events, she said, noting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “In this context, finding practical modes of economic co-operation between Belgrade, Pristina and all neighbours in the region assumes greater urgency,” SRSG Ziadeh said.
Her call for cooperation came on the heels of the Serbian general elections. The Head of UNMIK lauded the impressive and peaceful logistical exercise - with support from both sides - enabling 19,000 eligible voters to cast their vote in special polling stations established in Serbia, even though, regrettably, a solution to facilitate voter participation in Kosovo could not be achieved.
Following the recent reports of attacks targeting Kosovo Police, she urged collaborative condemnation and swift action to bring perpetrators to justice. She also encouraged Pristina and Belgrade to seek a permanent solution to the issues regarding vehicle license plates and energy.
During such complex times, SRSG Ziadeh called upon leaders to be judicious in their actions and political rhetoric.
Additionally, SRSG Ziadeh explicated the role of UNMIK as neither an obstacle nor vehicle for the outcome preferred by one or the other side. Rather, she explained, the Mission continues its legacy of institutional support, working in synergy with the UN family of agencies, funds, and programmes to ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants of Kosovo.
“UNMIK remains the locus of relevant knowledge, experience, and subject area expertise…supporting an active civil society, promoting new tools to help Kosovo reinforce the rule of law, contributing to the empowerment of women and youth, providing expertise and support to human rights mechanisms: all these will remain major priorities,” SRSG Ziadeh said.