Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 27, 2023
Thank you. Thank you, Special Representative Ziadeh, for your briefing. And thank you, Foreign Minister Gervalla and Foreign Minister Dacic for participating in today’s session.
The United States remains firmly committed to enhancing stability in the Western Balkans, especially during this time of greater tensions in Europe. We are working closely with European partners to continue fostering democracy, multi-ethnic societies, and rule of law across the Western Balkans.
This is a critically important endeavor, and we will continue to support our partners going forward, including on the EU-facilitated Dialogue. We especially appreciate EU High Representative Borrell’s and EU Special Representative Lajcak’s engagement with Kosovo and Serbia under the EU-facilitated Dialogue.
We commend Kosovo and Serbia for taking a crucial step forward with a legally binding agreement reached in Brussels and Ohrid. This is a positive development. We encourage both Kosovo and Serbia to move quickly to implement their respective commitments and avoid the recurrent crises that have hampered progress in the EU-facilitated Dialogue for so long.
We hope to see more of this new spirit when the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo meet in Brussels on May 2. A critical part of this important work is further steps on the establishment by Kosovo of an Association of Serb-majority Municipalities, in a way that complies with Kosovo’s constitution.
The EU-Facilitated Dialogue, re-energized through the February 27 Basic Agreement and the implementation annex on March 18, continues to be the principal mechanism for reconciling issues between the two neighbors.
The positive momentum over the past few months further supports our longstanding view that it is time for the UN to find a more relevant role in Kosovo that does not require a Chapter VII mandate. We greatly appreciate the contributions UNMIK has made to peace and security when it was established in 1999. However, we should acknowledge that the mission has long fulfilled its original mandate.