Ambassador Richard Mills
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 13, 2021
Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Special Representative Tanin, for your briefing. The United States appreciates the Special Representative’s leadership and your dedicated support for the Republic of Kosovo, especially during the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic.
We’ve had a long morning. I will attempt to be brief.
The United States wants to begin by applauding Kosovo for conducting free and fair, transparent elections in February, elections that ushered in a new government, which, as the foreign minister mentioned, reflects the will of Kosovo’s population for reforms, reforms to strengthen peace, justice, and prosperity in country.
We commend Kosovo’s continued advances in promoting women’s rights, including the National Assembly’s adoption of a constitutional amendment that would give direct effect in national law to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. This is a milestone, a milestone that underscores Kosovo’s commitment to advancing the UN’s Women, Peace, and Security agenda and providing for the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women at all levels of decision-making.
The United States looks forward to working closely with President Osmani, Prime Minister Kurti, and the Government of Kosovo on our many shared priorities, including enacting reforms to increase government transparency and accountability, fighting corruption, fostering economic development, and normalizing relations with Serbia.
The United States fully supports the EU-facilitated dialogue. With Kosovo’s government now formed, we welcome the EU Special Representative’s plans to reconvene the parties in the near future. Progress has been made by the parties – though you might not be able to tell it from our briefings this morning. But that progress in turn has contributed to improvements in the lives of citizens in both Kosovo and Serbia.
Similarly, the commitments made by Kosovo and Serbian leaders at the White House last September – September 2020 – have strengthened the foundation for economic cooperation, development, and normalization. We believe there is much to build on and there is little time to lose. So, the United States urges both parties to implement past agreements and to approach resumption of dialogue talks pragmatically and productively, with the goal of concluding a comprehensive normalization agreement.
Finally, Mr. President, let me take a moment, the United States wants to reiterate its position that UNMIK has long since fulfilled its original purpose and it should move toward closure. We call on our fellow Council members to sunset UNMIK and determine a more relevant role for the United Nations in helping Kosovo realize its full potential.
Let me end by congratulating Kosovo and Israel on establishing diplomatic relations. The United States looks forward to a deepening relationship between the two countries, through economic development and other forms of partnership, that will help further peace and stability in the Balkans and Middle East.
Thank you, Mr. President.