Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the UN Security Council Meeting on UNMIK, October 21, 2020

22.10.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

When I hear Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić speak, I have the impression that is a copy-paste from previous interventions. We hear so much about the “horrendous crimes committed by the Kosovars.” I'm just stunned that in his interventions, we never hear anything about the horrendous crimes, ethnic cleansing and mass deportation that were committed against the Kosovars in 1998 and 1999. I really regret that.

The Serbian Foreign Minister always says that there are not 116, but only 92 countries recognizing Kosovo. I am surprised by this policy of trying to get countries to de-recognize Kosovo. Our Serbian friends are shooting themselves in the foot because if they are honest about trying to join the European Union, they should work very hard to see that Kosovo is recognized, and they should it recognize themselves. In the historic review we heard from the Serbian Foreign Minister, there was no mention of the advisory opinion of the ICJ in 2010, which clearly said that the Declaration of Independence of Kosovo did not violate international law. The logic behind this is that the country is legitimate and should be recognized.

Mr. President, the discussion at the very beginning about how Kosovo is represented in this Council shows that the unresolved relationship between Kosovo and Serbia remains not only a source of tension between the Kosovo and Serbia, but it affects the whole region. It's an obstacle for the everyday life of the people in both countries, and to both Kosovo's and Serbia's path to the European Union. In this context, let me highlight that we very much appreciate and fully support the work of the EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajčak. We really appreciate that the Normalisation Dialogue restarted in Brussels in July. I must say, I share the frustration of many that we are not further than where we were before.

The two sides have shown commitment and engagement, and we are encouraged by the substantial work that has been done so far. In addressing the topics on the table, we expect the two parties to continue to engage constructively in good faith in a spirit of compromise. The goal must be a legally-binding, comprehensive, sustainable agreement that contributes to regional stability and enables both countries to become members of the European Union. The EU-facilitated dialogue is the only way to turn both countries' dreams into a reality for their citizens.

Mr. President, we were not very happy that you didn't allow Mr. Lajčak to brief us today, because with this dialogue, we want to turn the discussion to the future. Where do we go and where do we make progress? Otherwise we repeat ourselves and talk about the past. So we need to look to the future, and I think any picture of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia remains incomplete without Mr. Lajčak briefing the Council. We very much regret that this briefing has been blocked by the Chair.

We call on Serbia and Kosovo to increase their efforts at building trust and confidence, preparing the populations in both countries for compromise and reconciliation. Positive rhetoric and concrete confidence-building measures are of the essence in this context.

I would like to thank the Special Representative for what he has said in particular, as we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 this month, and we welcome that. The UN and the EU Special Representative are exploring options for enhancing the role of women in dialogue. We call upon both sides to include women representatives as well as civil society in the dialogue, and to ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.

I want to highlight the importance of the Special Chambers. We expect Kosovo to show continued commitment to them as an important demonstration of its commitment to the rule of law and ending impunity. We call on all actors to cooperate with the Special Prosecutor's Office in order to advance accountability in the country as a prerequisite to building trust.

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