Statement by Fergus Eckersley, UK Political Coordinator at the United Nations at the Security Council meeting on Kosovo

Fergus UNMIK

Thank you. Let me begin by thanking Special Representative Ziadeh for her briefing and for the work her team are doing to promote stability and respect for human rights in Kosovo.

Over the last year Kosovo’s democracy and institutions have continued to show their maturity. This is reflected in its climb up international rankings on political and civil liberties. Kosovo demonstrated the third highest increase of any country in 2022. We congratulate Kosovo on this improvement.

We welcome the government’s efforts to tackle corruption and strengthen the rule of law, and its commitment to tackling domestic and gender-based violence. We recognise the important role UNMIK has played in supporting Kosovo’s remarkable progress over the past 24 years, and the work it continues to do today and let me be clear, we remain fully supportive of Resolution 1244.

Conditions on the ground are, however, unrecognisable from 1999 and in line with our normal council practice on other mandates we believe it is time for a review of UNMIK’s role and responsibilities. This would allow the Council to take a fresh look at how UNMIK can adapt to serve the current conditions in Kosovo.

Colleagues, for many years the absence of a normal relationship between Kosovo and Serbia has had implications for regional stability and communities in both countries. We therefore welcome the considerable progress that has been made in the Normalisation Dialogue under EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak, including the 27 February Brussels Agreement and its Implementation Annex negotiated on 18 March in Ohrid. Now is the moment for both parties to engage in the Dialogue in good faith, honour their commitments, and avoid actions or rhetoric that could reduce prospects for a comprehensive and sustainable normalisation agreement.

Kosovo and Serbia have committed to the establishment of an Association of Serb Majority Municipalities. We urge both parties to engage swiftly and constructively so the Association can be established as soon as possible. We strongly encourage both sides to demonstrate the political will and courage to deliver on what has been agreed. This is in the long-term interests of citizens on both sides.

There are more immediate challenges too. Instead of a secure and safe environment in the north of Kosovo, there is a continuing security vacuum that leaves communities isolated and without vital every day services. We welcome the role played by KFOR and EULEX but this cannot be the long term solution. We need to support functioning institutions in the north, working to serve the interests of those they were elected to represent.

Let me finish by reiterating that the UK remains committed to supporting an inclusive, diverse and multi-ethnic democracy in Kosovo and its full participation in the international system.

Published 27 April 2023