Delivered by: Mohammed Bastaki, Counsellor

Mr. President,

I thank SRSG Caroline Ziadeh for her valuable briefing today. I welcome the participation of Prime Minister Brnabić and President Osmani-Sadriu in today’s meeting.

When the Council last met on this file in April, there was hope for greater stability and prosperity in the region.

Indeed, in that session, the United Arab Emirates stated, and I quote, “the recent agreement between Serbia and Kosovo is the most significant breakthrough in relations between both states in over a decade.”

The conversations around the future of both countries and their relationship with one another had notably shifted, leading to the EU-facilitated Ohrid and Brussels agreements.

These landmark agreements offered the promise of a new chapter for the peoples of both countries. They were followed by the Joint Declaration on Missing Persons which was endorsed in May.

Yet throughout this year, the situation on the ground in northern Kosovo began to fray.

Following a difficult election period, violence erupted in late May, during which dozens of KFOR peacekeepers, as well as law enforcement officials and civilians were wounded. We condemn all attacks against peacekeepers.

And there was a collective feeling of fear and uncertainty when the world witnessed the events of 24 September, during which a policeman was killed, and others wounded. The UAE condemns attacks on law enforcement officials, and shares its condolences with the families of those killed and injured. The rule of law must prevail and all those responsible must be held to account.

What took place one month ago risked pulling the region back to a darker time in its history.

Following these events, as we saw leaders work to de-escalate the situation, we were reminded that peace is not simply the passive absence of fighting, but also the culmination of concerted action.

Dialogue and diplomacy take courage, and we commend the steps taken by the leadership of Kosovo and Serbia to de-escalate.

At the same time, momentum must continue in the implementation of the agreements made under the auspices of the EU-facilitated dialogue. The UAE reiterates its full support for the dialogue, which remains the best means of resolving outstanding issues.

In this regard, we welcome the recent high-level meetings that took place as part of the EU-facilitated dialogue.

Now it is more important than ever for both sides to re-focus on constructive dialogue and avoid those who would engage in inflammatory rhetoric that will only exacerbate tensions.

Any hope for peace in the future requires building trust. In light of this, we appreciate and encourage the continued efforts of UNMIK at building confidence and trust between communities in Kosovo, in coordination with the government and community leaders.

Mr. President,

As our last statement on this file during our Security Council term, let me reiterate that for our part, the UAE remains fully committed to supporting all concerted efforts towards peace and prosperity for the peoples of Serbia and Kosovo.

Thank you.