Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Meeting Called by Serbia on Kosovo

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February 8, 2024

Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Special Representative Ziadeh, for your briefing. And I’d like to acknowledge President Vučić and Prime Minister Kurti.

The United States remains committed to peace and stability in the Western Balkans, including through our support for the NATO Kosovo Force’s peacekeeping mission, in line with its UN mandate.

It is our goal, alongside European partners and other stakeholders, to foster democracy, regional economic integration, vibrant multi-ethnic societies, and rule of law.

To that end, we ask both Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from uncoordinated or escalatory actions. And we urge them to return to the EU-facilitated Dialogue, which the United States continues to strongly support.

To be clear: it is the EU-facilitated Dialogue not the UN Security Council that should be the channel for resolving issues related to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, including solutions that respect the rights of all communities.

Still, the United States has expressed concerns with Kosovo’s plan for enforcing the Central Bank of Kosovo’s amended regulations on cash transactions. The decision was taken without adequate preparation or consultation with the local population.

And so, we once again call for enforcement of this plan to be immediately postponed until satisfactory procedures in line with European standards and practices of good governance are in place, and the affected population has been sufficiently educated on the process this transition will follow.

Interruptions to the distribution of social benefits from Serbia must be minimized until the transition is complete, and we look to the Serbian government to cooperate in this effort.

We are also deeply concerned about recent, uncoordinated actions the Government of Kosovo has undertaken, including law enforcement operations at the offices of the Serbia-supported institutions in municipalities in western Kosovo, and the NGO Center For Peace and Tolerance in Pristina.

These actions are inconsistent with Kosovo’s commitment to work through the EU-facilitated Dialogue to address issues that affect the welfare of the Serb minority community. And they undermine the path to normalization between Kosovo and Serbia.

Once again, the Security Council is not the place to resolve these issues: we reiterate our call for both parties to engage through the EU-facilitated Dialogue.

But while we are here, we must also draw the Council’s attention to acute threats to security and stability coming from outside Kosovo.

The United States reiterates our condemnation of the coordinated, violent Serb paramilitary attacks on the Kosovo Police near the Banjska Monastery on September 24, which resulted in the tragic death of a Kosovo police sergeant.

Four months have elapsed since this attack, and Serbia has yet to hold accountable those involved in its planning and execution. Indeed, the self-proclaimed leader of the attack remains at large in Serbia.

We again call on Serbia to pursue full accountability for the perpetrators and organizers of the September 24 attack. Serbia must also work with KFOR to ensure that another attack like this cannot happen again.

To close, it bears reiterating, one more time, that the EU-facilitated Dialogue is the best mechanism to reconcile issues between Kosovo and Serbia, and end the cycle of crises.

The Agreement on the path to normalization between Kosovo and Serbia and its implementation annex, which both parties agreed to last year, are legally binding commitments. And they serve as a roadmap for each party to de-escalate tensions, and urgently move forward on their respective European paths.

Thank you, Madam President.

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