Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on Kosovo/UNMIK
National statement delivered by Minister Counsellor Joakim Vaverka on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), 14 November 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President,
Thank you SRSG Tanin for your briefing today. Welcome to Foreign Minister Dacic and Ambassador Citaku to the Council chamber today.
Today’s briefing will be Sweden’s last meeting on Kosovo during our current tenure as a member of this Council. During these two years – despite challenges – important steps have been taken by Pristina and Belgrade to normalize relations and advance on their respective EU tracks. The future of both Serbia and Kosovo clearly lies in the European Union. The EU integration process is the most important driver of positive change and necessary reforms in the Western Balkans.
We welcome the continued engagement by Pristina and Belgrade in the EU facilitated dialogue for normalization of relations. Full normalization is vital for a stable, peaceful and prosperous Western Balkans, and a comprehensive and legally binding agreement must be reached as soon as possible.
Pristina and Belgrade should implement their commitments and pursue the dialogue process with constructive engagement and dedication. Important achievements, such as the integration of Kosovo Serb judges and prosecutors into Kosovo’s judicial system last year, should serve as an inspiration for further progress.
The developments in the Western Balkans have a direct influence on the rest of Europe. The European Union has therefore invested heavily in the stability and prosperity of this region, both politically and financially. It is essential that the status issue does not hamper the European perspective for the two countries. The normalization of Kosovo in an international context, including its membership in the international organizations, must be allowed to move forward.
We encourage the government and the opposition in Kosovo to accelerate work with necessary reforms, including the fight against corruption and organized crime, in order to advance further on the EU path.
The UN and UNMIK have undoubtedly made invaluable contributions to bring us where we are today. Present challenges in Kosovo are, however, better dealt with in the framework of the EU integration process, including in close cooperation with The European Union Rule of Law Mission, EULEX. Hand-over of responsibilities from UNMIK to local authorities should continue.
UNMIK’s efforts should instead be refocused so that the means deployed by the United Nations are better tailored to the situation on the ground. To this end we would welcome a strategic review of the mission in due course. Given the progress made in Kosovo, the current reporting cycle to the Security Council should also be adjusted to six months, to better reflect realities on the ground, which would entail two reports from the Secretary-General per year.
Since 1999 Sweden has contributed militarily, economically and politically to the stability and prosperity of the Kosovo. Our political support, which is also demonstrated through our bilateral development cooperation, will continue, with a clear focus on supporting Kosovo’s EU integration.