Statement at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Kosovo
Statement20 April 2022
Thank you, Mr President.
I want to begin by welcoming SRSH SRSG Ziadeh to the Council for the first time. You have our full support in your work going forward. I would also like to recognise Minister Gërvalla-Schwarz and Minister Selaković and welcome them to the Council.
Building peace takes political will. It takes compromise and it takes open channels of communication. In Ireland, we value and believe in dialogue because we have seen that dialogue delivers – it brings peace, it delivers progress, and it delivers for people.
This is why we support the Secretary-General’s call for constructive and sincere engagement in the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. This UN mandated dialogue is the channel through which issues and tensions between Kosovo and Serbia can and should be resolved.
Both sides have a responsibility to refrain from further divisive rhetoric or actions and to respect and implement the commitments they have made under the Dialogue without delay. There have been concrete gains that have improved the daily lives of all communities in Kosovo and these must not be frittered away by actions that risk aggravating tensions.
A comprehensive, final and legally binding normalisation agreement is essential for the European perspective of both Kosovo and Serbia, and for wider stability in the Western Balkans region.
We very much welcome the steps taken by Kosovo to address sexual and gender-based violence, in particular the adoption of a strategy against domestic violence and violence against women. We also value and support UNMIK’s role in the promotion of gender equality, including through progressing the WPS and YPS agendas, and providing support for survivors of sexual and gender‑based violence.
The women of Kosovo have made remarkable gains in political representation at the national level, and we hope to see this replicated at the local level in the coming years. For this to happen, any remaining barriers preventing women’s full and equal participation in political life must be removed. The support or access to the resources they need to run for office at the local level also needs to be addressed. The meaningful inclusion of Kosovo’s youth in conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts is also essential for achieving sustainable and lasting peace, and we took note of the comments of the SRSG on the focus she will be putting on those YPS and WPS agendas in her remarks.
We know that the people of Kosovo want prosperity and stability. We also know that they see EU accession as contributing to this end. We note the progress made by the government of Kosovo in advancing the EU reform agenda. At the same time, more needs to be done, particularly in relation to the rule of law.
In this context, I also wish to underline Ireland’s support for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. Countering impunity for past crimes is essential to preventing future violations. It is vital that the authorities in Kosovo adhere to their commitments to the Specialist Chambers.
The UN continues to play an important role through its trust-building projects bringing together members of different communities, in particular young people, as well as supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in Kosovo. We value in particular UNMIK’s work on missing persons and UNHCR’s work on the return of displaced persons.
Progress on both these issues can provide much needed comfort and solace to families of the missing and those who have been displaced for too long. They are essential steps in the process of reconciliation in Kosovo, and are important for building confidence between Kosovo and Serbia.
We see all too often at this Council the misery caused by conflict. We know it takes courage to overcome conflict and to overcome the divisions caused by conflict, but these are steps that need to be taken, that are worth taking, to benefit the peoples of Kosovo and Serbia.
Thank you, Mr President.