“While this process has led to significant results on a number of practical issues, a comprehensive normalization of relations between the two sides remains elusive so far,” Caroline Ziadeh said in her first biannual address as UN Special Representative.
“Reconciliation and dealing with past grievances should reinforce the pursuit of important strategic goals,” she added.
Acknowledging the current situation in Ukraine and its continuing impact on the European security and economy, Ms. Ziadeh reiterated that the resilience of democratic institutions in the Balkans is a crucial factor in maintaining a secure and democratic Europe.
However, the shocks to Kosovo’s economy were building up long before the start of the conflict, he said, noting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In this context, finding practical ways of economic cooperation between Belgrade, Pristina and all the neighbors of the region assumes greater urgency”.
His call for cooperation came on the heels of the Serbian general election.
The UNMIK chief praised the peaceful logistics exercise, supported by both sides, which enabled 19,000 eligible voters to cast their ballots at special polling stations in Serbia.
Unfortunately, however, a solution to facilitate voter participation in Kosovo could not be achieved.
Following recent reports of attacks against the Kosovo police, Ms. Ziadeh urged collaborative conviction and swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice.
He also encouraged Pristina and Belgrade to seek a permanent solution to problems related to vehicle registration and energy.
During these complex times, the Special Representative urged leaders to be judicious in their actions and political rhetoric.
UNMIK’s legacy of support
The senior UN official clarified that UNMIK’s role is neither an obstacle nor a vehicle for the preferred outcome of one side or the other.
Rather, he explained, the Mission continues its legacy of institutional support, working in synergy with the UN family of agencies, funds and programs to guarantee the conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all the inhabitants of Kosovo.
“UNMIK remains the center of relevant knowledge, experience and expertise…supporting an active civil society, promoting new tools to help Kosovo strengthen the rule of law, contributing to the empowerment of women and youth, providing expertise and support”.