Security Council Briefing: Kosovo
Statement by H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York
New York, 17 December 2018
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
First of all I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Jean Pierre Lacroix for his briefing today. And let me also welcome to this Council President Vučić of the Republic of Serbia and President Thaçi of the Republic of Kosovo.
Mr. President, I will focus on the following three points:
- The sovereignty of Kosovo;
- The background of the current tensions;
- The need for resumption of the EU-facilitated dialogue.
1. Support for Kosovo’s sovereignty and respect for international law
Mr. President, on my first point, let me emphasize that the Kingdom of the Netherlands fully supports the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo. As a sovereign state, Kosovo has the right to create its own institutions.
This being said, we believe that the transformation of the Kosovo Security Forces should be a transparent and inclusive process in line with the constitution of Kosovo.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands encourages Kosovo to work on the transformation in consultation with NATO and other relevant international actors. Inclusivity of the process is important to ensure that this ten-year transition receives the support of all in Kosovo and, in particular, of its non-majority communities.
More broadly, the path of Kosovo towards further normalization should be an orderly process, in which resolutions and decisions of this Council should be respected and fully implemented by all players on the ground.
2. Background of current tensions
Mr. President, this brings me to my second point: the background of the current tensions. The decision taken by the Kosovar authorities to start the transformation of Kosovo Security Force comes at a sensitive moment in time.
Recently, we have seen a succession of steps on both sides that have not been conducive to a climate furthering the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
Almost two decades after the adoption of resolution 1244, Belgrade and Pristina have made significant progress in coming to agreement on important issues. Yet, they still have to agree on many aspects of their future relationship. Understandably, such a process is not easy and has ups and downs.
It is also the reason why we still have to spend time in this Council discussing the situation in Kosovo – even if the situation does no longer constitute an imminent or grave threat to international peace and security.
We call upon the leaders of both countries to act responsibly and contribute to calming the situation.
3. Resumption of the EU facilitated dialogue
This brings me to third point, Mr. President. It is essential that both sides resume the EU-facilitated dialogue as soon as possible, without preconditions, and implement the agreements made in the past.
Both sides should realize that the status quo is not a solution in the long term. Security depends on good neighborly relations. Everyone in the region stands to gain from political normalization as well as from more economic integration and from fewer trade barriers.
Mr. President, it is key for Kosovo to improve the day-to-day lives of all its citizens. Implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union as well as implementation of the European Reform agenda are crucial to achieve this lofty goal.
Both parties should avoid unilateral actions that go against the spirit of the dialogue and which undermine mutual trust. Therefore Mr. President, we regret the insistence of some members of this Council to have an open debate today rather than have an interactive dialogue.
In conclusion, Mr. President, we ask Serbia and Kosovo to demonstrate their political will and their commitment towards normalization by continuing to work in the framework of the EU facilitated dialogue.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Image: ©UN Photo/Evan Schneider