Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on Kosovo
National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, 17 December 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President,
Let me first me thank Under-Secretary-General Lacroix for his briefing to the Council today. We also recognize and appreciate the presence of president Thaçi and president Vučić in the chamber this afternoon.
The main threats to the stability in the Western Balkans are the pending issues related to the status of Kosovo. They are holding back the EU integration process, which in turn is the main driver of stability in the region, both for Serbia and for Kosovo.
The focus of the international community must be to insist with the parties in reaching a comprehensive and legally binding agreement contributing to regional stability and offer support in that process.
With regards to the recent legislation passed by the Kosovo Assembly on the Kosovo Security Force, this is in principle a matter for the sovereign state of Kosovo. At the same time, we, as others, strongly encourage Pristina to ensure that the transformation of its security force over the next ten years takes place through a transparent and inclusive process, in line with the constitution and in close coordination with NATO and its partners. It is important that all communities are associated with this exercise, to ensure that this transition eventually receives an overall support in Kosovo.
Over the last weeks and months, the steps taken by both sides have not contributed to good neighborly relations and a climate conducive to normalization of relations. It is important that all sides refrain from actions and statements that might increase tensions. We call on both to adhere to regional agreements including free trade agreements.
We have recently seen a renewed commitment from both Belgrade and Pristina to engage in the normalization dialogue facilitated by the European Union. The dialogue must continue without preconditions – and I repeat – it is the only path to a sustainable political and inclusive solution for the region. In this regard we welcome the recent resolution of the Kosovo parliament establishing a cross-party team for the dialogue talks, with the aim to create a unified platform. We underline the need for full and effective participation of women in the dialogue talks, as well as consultations with civil society, including women’s organizations.
The future of both Serbia and Kosovo lies within the European Union. So, our message to the two presidents present here, is that both Pristina and Belgrade need to implement commitments and pursue the dialogue process with constructive engagement and dedication. Now is the time to show courageous and visionary leadership. If you put the question to your people in that very way, confrontation or cooperation, I’m sure that the people will support the latter as they understand that this is what is needed to bring peace and prosperity.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.