Delivered By: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Thank you, Mr. President.
I’d like to also begin by thanking Special Representative Ziadeh for her informative briefing and I welcome the participation of First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Dačić and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Gërvalla-Schwarz today.
The UAE has a strong relationship and affinity with both Kosovo and Serbia. These ties were marked just last month, during the visit of Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to both Belgrade and Pristina on a regional tour. During the visit, discussions focused on bilateral relations and regional stability and prosperity.
Peace is not a simple story of a “before” and “after”. There are many chapters.
The recent agreement between Serbia and Kosovo is the most significant breakthrough in relations between both states in over a decade, and we must all support this welcome trajectory.
The United Arab Emirates therefore welcomes the agreement reached in Brussels last February on the path to normalization, as well as the implementation roadmap agreed in Ohrid last month. Neither would have been possible without the leadership and goodwill of both parties. We commend the EU for its dedication in facilitating dialogue and diplomacy, and the UAE affirms its full support for these efforts.
We are pleased to see concrete steps towards the implementation of these agreements, such as the establishment of the Joint Monitoring Committee.
While the resolve of each party has led them from the ashes of war to agreement, taking it from drawing board to reality is the next chapter and necessitates considerable work ahead, as we have heard here in this chamber today.
Last week’s events provided a glimpse of the challenges that remain on ground. Sunday’s local elections in Kosovo, which were conducted without the participation of significant political actors in the four Serb-majority municipalities in the north, underlined the complexity of the situation.
That said, the Brussels and Ohrid agreements offer the possibility of a path forward. By outlining specific measures that can support stability and strengthen civic participation, there is greater clarity today on the ways in which the situation can be improved, not only in these municipalities, but across Kosovo as a whole.
A further step of significance is the EU’s announcement that Kosovo and Serbia have agreed on the text of the Declaration on Missing Persons. An endorsed declaration can help to provide closure to families while honouring those who are no longer with us, and we offer our full support to Kosovo and Serbia’s renewed commitment on this critical matter.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend UNMIK’s efforts to build trust and social cohesion across Kosovo.
By promoting initiatives and fora that enhance constructive engagement between communities, they play an important role in building mutual understanding, tolerance, and dialogue – the cornerstones of sustainable peace. These pillars of their work could be developed further.
We have witnessed in our own region, the Middle East, the value and the tangible impact that intercommunal dialogue can have, and this process is essential for securing prosperity, not only within Kosovo, but also in the wider region.
That said, we know that the path to reconciliation is fraught, and we remain deeply concerned by the continued reports of vandalism and theft targeting cultural and religious sites in Kosovo. Though not widespread, acts such as these can sow division and should be firmly dealt with.
We support efforts from government and civic leaders to counter these acts.
Let me end with this: we cannot change the past, but we can shape our future.
For that future to be secure and stable, we look to Serbia and Kosovo’s leaders to maintain their commitment to EU-facilitated dialogue and to implementing the agreements that have been reached. In doing so, they can ensure that the hard-earned peace endures.
For our part, the UAE is fully committed to supporting these efforts so that the next chapter ushers in an era of peace and prosperity for the peoples of Serbia and Kosovo, but also the wider region, one that all these people so rightly deserve.