Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)

Ambassador Michele J. Sison
U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 14, 2017


Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Special Representative Tanin, for your briefing. I also want to thank Ambassador Citaku and Minister Dacic for their participation.

We congratulate Kosovo on formulating a new government following free, fair, and peaceful democratic elections in June, which clearly demonstrate Kosovo’s democratic maturity. We also welcome the successful local elections that Kosovo held on October 22, further evidence of Kosovo’s continuing progress. We urge Kosovo’s newly elected leaders to use their mandates wisely to advance the welfare of all of Kosovo’s communities and to maintain progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

We also welcome recent advancements in the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue with the successful integration of Kosovo Serb judges, prosecutors, and administrative staff into the Kosovo judiciary. We greatly appreciate the EU’s contributions as facilitator of the Brussels dialogue. We reiterate our support for the Dialogue and encourage leaders in both Belgrade and Pristina to continue efforts to reach agreement on normalization.

Colleagues, as we have repeatedly said in this chamber, UNMIK has long ago fulfilled its mandate in Kosovo. There is no doubt that, over the years, the Mission has successfully helped Kosovo build multi-ethnic, democratic institutions that uphold the rule of law and respect human rights. The UN should be proud of these accomplishments and this success story. It is now time to transition the Mission and to direct UN resources towards more critical issues.

In that regard, we firmly believe that the Council should consider UNMIK in a format that will allow us to discuss in detail proposals to improve the Mission and to bring its resources in line with any needs on the ground. The current format has not allowed us, as a Council, to seriously evaluate and assess the mission and its future. We also reiterate our call for the Council to adjust the reporting and briefing period for UNMIK. UNMIK’s reporting and briefing period should change from three months to six months – or even longer.

Special Representative Tanin, during the last briefing in August, we recommended that the Secretary-General provide in his next report an assessment of possible budget and staff reductions, with a focus on reducing redundancy. We reiterate our recommendation for such a report.

Finally, we continue to strongly support full international recognition of Kosovo and Kosovo’s membership in all relevant international organizations, including the United Nations and INTERPOL. We encourage UN Member States that have not yet done so to join the more than 110 United Nations members that have already recognized Kosovo as an independent state.

Thank you, Mr. President.