SRSG Tanin in Security Council Session on Kosovo: EU and Grassroots Engagement Important Pathways forward in Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue
14 May 2018, New York – Wider regional engagement and a renewed EU focus on Belgrade and Pristina represents a unique opportunity to move past a stalemate in relations, the head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo told the Security Council today.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo Mr. Zahir Tanin told the Council during his quarterly address in New York that a new level of engagement was needed in order to see material shifts in the positions of the governments in Belgrade and Pristina.
“There is no other viable option. However, for that to happen there is a clear need for exercising leadership to stand up to challenges even with short-term political costs. A new focus by Brussels at all levels provides a mutually beneficial opportunity for Pristina and Belgrade to leave the current difficult moment behind and to take the dialogue to the next stage of real progress,” SRSG Tanin said.
The head of UNMIK told the Council both the upcoming EU Western Balkans Summit in Sofia and July’s Berlin Process meeting could help “take advantage of a new commitment in regional engagement,” particularly following some difficult events between Pristina and Belgrade in March.
“This past period in Kosovo was generally characterised by a decline in both the quality of actions and the tenor of political discourse between Pristina and Belgrade.”
However, he congratulated the Kosovo Assembly for ratifying the 2015 territorial delineation agreement with Montenegro, an important step on the way to EU integration and visa liberalisation, and for approving a new draft of the Kosovo criminal code – while reiterating the need to strengthen Kosovo’s human rights and rule of law record.
SRSG Tanin reflected on the fruitful discussions and engagement that took place during the United Nations Kosovo Trust-Building Forum in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana on May 7 and 8, where community leaders from throughout Kosovo came together to discuss ways of building a positive path for the future in six thematic areas: media accountability, access to impartial justice, economic growth, access to public services, religious coexistence, and educational reform.
“Motivated and energetic individuals from across Kosovo society debated the prospects for building trust through a wide range of positive action and cooperation.”
SRSG Tanin closed his address by thanking the Security Council for their continued support to UNMIK and the EU-led dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade.
Read SRSG Zahir Tanin's statement in Albanian here: alb_-_srsg_tanin_unsc_statement_14.5.18.pdf
Read SRSG Zahir Tanin's statement in Serbian here: srb_-_srsg_tanin_unsc_statement_14.5.18.pdf
Watch SRSG Tanin speech: