Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on UNMIK - Kosovo
Statement15 October 2021
I want to begin by thanking SRSG Tanin for his briefing, and him and his team for their valuable work. I’d like to underline, right at the top, Ireland’s strong support for UNMIK. I thank President Osmani and Foreign Minister Selaković for being here today.
As we know from experience, building peace takes time and ongoing and open channels of communication. Ireland supports the Secretary-General’s call on both sides to engage constructively in the renewed dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. This EU-facilitated dialogue, mandated by the UN, is the channel through which issues and tensions between Kosovo and Serbia can and should be resolved. We continue to see the value of dialogue, including at the end of September when an arrangement was reached to resolve the tensions in the north of Kosovo.
We urge both sides to commit to a concerted and sincere effort to progress the EU-facilitated dialogue. We call on leaders in both Serbia and Kosovo to refrain from further divisive rhetoric or actions.
All agreements reached under the Dialogue, since its beginning ten years ago, need to be implemented without delay. There have been concrete gains that have improved the daily lives of people in Kosovo and these must not be squandered – there cannot be a reset. Both sides have a responsibility to respect and implement the obligations they have made under the Dialogue.
A comprehensive, final and legally binding normalisation agreement is essential for the European perspective of both Serbia and Kosovo, and for wider stability in the Western Balkans region.
Kosovo like many others, continues to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. We greatly appreciate UNMIK’s role in supporting Kosovo’s Covid response – particularly through the assistance the mission gives to the most vulnerable in Kosovo.
We value UNMIK’s work on the promotion of gender equality, including through progressing the WPS and YPS agendas. UNMIK’s work on gender‑based violence within all communities is especially significant. Gender-based violence in Kosovo has risen year-on-year since 2016. Though steps have been taken to prevent and combat violence against women and girls, more must be done.
Ireland welcomes the record intake of women MPs elected to parliament this year and the level of women’s representation in the Government. However, the gains made by women at the national level have yet to trickle down to local level: less than 8% of candidates running for mayoral posts in the upcoming municipal elections are women. Women do not yet have the support or the access to the resources they need to run for office at the local level. The barriers preventing their participation in political life, and in the vital work of building peace, must be dismantled without delay.
The people of Kosovo voted for change earlier this year and for an agenda of rule of law and anti-corruption reforms, which the new Government has set about tackling. We hope that the coming months will see a reinvigoration of, and delivery on, the EU reform agenda, particularly rule of law reforms.
In this context, I also wish to underline Ireland’s support for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. It is Ireland’s view that countering impunity for past crimes is essential in preventing future violations. It is vital that the authorities in Kosovo adhere to their commitments to the Specialist Chambers.
UNMIK continues to play an important role through its trust-building projects bringing together members of different communities, in particular young people. UNMIK supports the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in Kosovo. Of particular note is UNMIK’s work on missing persons. Progress on this issue can provide much needed comfort and solace to families of the missing, and is an indispensable step in the process of reconciliation in Kosovo. It is important for building confidence between Kosovo and Serbia. We greatly value this and other aspects of UNMIK’s work and wish SRSG Tanin and his team all the best in the next phase of their mission.
Thank you, Mr. President.