Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at UNSC Briefing on Kosovo (UNMIK)
Statement13 April 2021
Thank you very much, Mr. President, and I want to say welcome to both the Ministers of Kosovo and Serbia who are with us today. This is the first opportunity that Ireland has had to address these issues since we joined the Council, so I want to begin by underlining Ireland’s strong support for UNMIK.
I would like also to welcome the Secretary-General’s report and of course thank SRSG Tanin and his team for their important work and his brief this morning.
As the Secretary General’s report sets out, and we have heard from several briefers this morning, Kosovo of course like many of us, has had to face serious problems created by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last year. We very much appreciate the valuable role UNMIK has played in supporting Kosovo in addressing those challenges – the procurement of medical supplies, PPE and expertise, and of course through the assistance we know they give to the most vulnerable communities.
We attach particular importance to UNMIK’s work on the promotion of gender equality in Kosovo, including through the Women, Peace and Security agenda, as well as its engagement with young people through the YPS agenda and programme. We see this work as especially important right now given the increasing levels of gender‑based violence in the context of Covid - we have seen that right across the globe. We commend UNMIK’s initiatives to support survivors from all communities in Kosovo. We also welcome that Kosovo has incorporated provisions of the Istanbul Convention into its legislation. What matters now of course is that this is followed up with the actual implementation of concrete policies.
Ireland welcomes the advance in the political representation of women in Kosovo – a female Minister with us today - following the recent elections where we know that the percentage of women elected to the Assembly exceeded the quota of the General Election Law. The significant progress of women in the political arena, now again must see itself translated into full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peacebuilding in all its dimensions in Kosovo, including in the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue. In this context, we know that barriers faced by women need to be addressed in order to deliver sustainable and inclusive peace. We know the corollary is true, the involvement of women improves the prospects for that sustainable and inclusive peace.
This Council has a responsibility, we have a responsibility to strongly support efforts to advance the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. The EU-facilitated dialogue has a very and particularly important role to play in this regard, and we fully support the efforts of the HRVP, Josep Borrell and the EU Special Representative, Miroslav Lajčák in advancing this process.
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 region in the Western Balkans.
Now that a new Government and President are in place in Kosovo, there is a real opportunity for renewed momentum in dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. We urge that a concerted and a sincere effort be made over the coming months to progress the EU‑facilitated dialogue.
Let us recognize it, domestically, 2020 was a challenging year for Kosovo – both in terms of political turbulence and the impact of COVID – but we hope that the coming months will see a reinvigoration of the EU reform agenda, in line with the findings and recommendations of the European Commission's 2020 Kosovo report.
The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for Kosovo’s Rule of Law institutions. Ireland strongly encourages the government to take into account in all Rule of Law reforms issues highlighted by the Covid pandemic, in particular with respect to vulnerable groups and their access to justice.
The people of Kosovo have voted for change and for an agenda of rule of law and anti‑corruption reforms – we heard that this morning. We urge the new Government to build on the work already done and to deliver further progress in this area for all the people in Kosovo.
In this context, I also wish to underline Ireland’s support for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. The Chambers have important work to do. It is also key that the authorities in Kosovo adhere to their commitments to the court.
UNMIK has played an important role in assisting the people of Kosovo to build a peaceful and normal life, and advance regional stability. We wish SRSG Tanin and his team all the best in the next phase of their mission and look forward to further briefings of the Council on this issue.
Thank you, Mr. President.