Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on the situation in Kosovo
National statement delievered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the situation in Kosovo, 7 February 2018, New York.
I would like to begin by thanking Dr Zahir Tanin, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his briefing today. I would also like to thank Foreign Minister Dačić and Ambassador Çitaku for their statements to the Council.
As pointed out by Ambassador Çitaku, this month marks 10 years since Kosovo's declaration of independence. Over this last decade, significant progress has been made in the consolidation of peace and democracy in Kosovo. But further efforts on this path of positive progress are needed. We are concerned by recent attempts to undermine the Specialist Chambers and the Special Prosecutor's Office. It is crucial that Kosovo's political leadership respect its commitments in this regard.
Like others, we also strongly condemn the murder of Oliver Ivanović. It is of utmost importance that the investigation now underway is able to run its course.
As Kosovo addresses recent challenges, its European Union perspective is clear. Irreversible steps are needed. It is important that the government resumes a dedicated reform agenda that the people of Kosovo desire. To this end, the government needs partners across the political spectrum. We encourage all political actors to engage in a constructive dialogue that will enable an acceleration of necessary reforms.
The future of Kosovo will be shaped by courageous and committed leadership from Pristina and Belgrade. We welcome the steps being taken towards a new phase in the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, and we encourage both sides to fully engage and to deliver on their respective parts of all agreements reached. Good neighbourly relations are vital for a stable and prosperous Western Balkans, and the success of the dialogue will also have positive effects for the wider region. In the meantime, it is essential that the status issue does not hamper Kosovo's European perspective, or its membership in international organizations.
As highlighted by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General this morning, and by my EU colleagues, the European Commission yesterday adopted its strategy for 'A credible enlargement perspective for, and enhanced EU engagement with, the Western Balkans'. The strategy reaffirms Kosovo's place in Europe and its European Union perspective. The strategy recognises that the challenges that Kosovo faces, in the rule of law, relations with its neighbours and the reform agenda, must be, and can be, dealt with within the framework of the European Union integration process.
Finally, Mr President,
Almost two decades after its establishment, it is clear that UNMIK has made an invaluable contribution in Kosovo. But looking forward, we hope that this Council will be able to consider the possible prospects of further downsizing of the mission's structure, size and tasks, as well as the possibility of adjusting the reporting and briefing period from three to six months.