Check against delivery.

Madam President,

At the outset, I welcome Ms. Caroline Ziadeh, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo and thank her for her first briefing to the Council as well as her tireless efforts alongside the Mission’s team. I also welcome the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, His Excellency Nikola Selaković, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Her Excellency Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz, in today’s meeting.

Madam President,

The UAE believes it is important to intensify efforts to reduce tensions, encourage dialogue, and prevent the exacerbation of differences between the ethnic groups in Kosovo as well as between Kosovo and Serbia. We find this to be especially important in light of the ongoing conflict and the current situation in Europe that has cast a shadow over the entire region, including in the Balkans. It is imperative to remember the devastating war that engulfed this region ended more than two decades ago. Since its conclusion, significant and tangible progress has been made towards achieving reconciliation. It is therefore essential that these efforts do not regress as a result of the recent turmoil in Europe.

From this standpoint, it is important to focus on the following points:

First, we encourage Kosovo and Serbia to continue the dialogue, facilitated by the European Union. We also encourage the two parties to bring positions closer together. In this regard, we stress that the current tensions must not undermine efforts towards peace and stability. Dialogue remains the only way to resolve the outstanding issues between the two parties, and thus we encourage them to return to the negotiating table.

Second, we commend the continuous efforts to promote the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence across all segments of society in Kosovo. In this context, we stress the importance of countering hate speech and preventing its proliferation, especially through social media, to build peaceful, secure, and prosperous societies in the region. In this regard, strengthening frameworks for peaceful coexistence by intensifying communication between ethnic and religious groups in Kosovo, including through the efforts of UN mission in Kosovo, other regional organizations, and civil society institutions, requires further consideration.

Third, the UAE believes that supporting women’s full, and meaningful participation in any mediation efforts is important to resolve differences between Kosovo’s communities as well as any mediation efforts between the two parties. In this regard, we commend the Multilateral Group on Security and Gender in Kosovo for its support for the role of women and the team’s efforts to consolidate the gains made by women in Kosovo. We also stress the importance of women’s effective participation in the political process and commend the progress made in Kosovo in this regard. Women’s participation is essential to ensure that any agreements between Kosovo and Serbia fully reflect the concerns of both societies in a comprehensive manner. It will also help lay a strong foundation for a sustainable peace.

Fourth, the United Nations plays an important role in Kosovo, especially through its implementation of activities and projects that support government institutions, and it deserves continued support. The UN also undertakes valuable initiatives aimed at building trust between the religious and ethnic communities (in Kosovo), including through the virtual “Kosovo Trust-building Platform” as well as economic empowerment and aiding in the search for missing persons.

In conclusion, we affirm that the difficult geopolitical situation in Europe necessitates redoubling efforts to resolve the differences between Kosovo and Serbia. We must also ensure that all issues are addressed in a peaceful and sustainable manner to achieve security and stability for the two countries and the region as a whole. Doing so will help lay a strong foundation for preventing further disputes or escalations in the Balkans.

Thank you, Madam President.