Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
October 23, 2023
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Special Representative Ziadeh for your briefing. I wish to welcome President Osmani, and Prime Minister Brnabíc to this meeting.
Let me first reiterate the U.S. commitment to maintaining stability in the Western Balkans. My government strongly condemns the violence perpetrated by armed assailants on September 24 in the north of Kosovo, which led to the death of a Kosovo Police Officer. The September 24 attack revealed a direct threat to the safety of Kosovo’s citizens and put at risk NATO and EU personnel. There must be full accountability in accordance with the rule of law for perpetrators of the attack. Individuals who fled to third countries should be extradited or prosecuted as appropriate.
The United States is working closely with the EU and NATO partners to help keep the north of Kosovo calm and to deter escalatory measures by either party. We caution both sides against uncoordinated or escalatory actions and urge their immediate return to the EU-facilitated Dialogue prepared to take concrete steps forward. It is important that the parties make progress in implementing all Dialogue commitments.
The United States continues to support the EU-facilitated Dialogue as the best path to reconcile issues between Kosovo and Serbia. We will remain closely engaged in supporting our European partners’ work in this regard. We also welcome the increased numbers and greater visibility of NATO’s Kosovo Force in the north of Kosovo. This presence should be sustained as long as needed.
We commend the Kosovo Police for their response to the September 24 attack and for their close coordination with KFOR and the European Rule of Law Mission, both during the attack and during their investigations. We encourage Kosovo to continue coordination moving forward.
Mr. President, recent events have once again shown that while there is a role the UN can play in Kosovo, it does not require a Chapter VII mandate to do so. UNMIK was not involved in the response to, or investigation of, the September 24 attack. UNMIK has long fulfilled its original purpose and no longer has a role in the governance of Kosovo, or in its security. We again ask this Council to sunset the mission.
Thank you, Mr. President.