Statement in response to the Head of the OSCE Mission to Kosovo

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 5 May 2022.

Mr Chair,

It is our pleasure to welcome Ambassador Michael Davenport back to the Permanent Council. As others, we thank him for his latest report. Rest assured of our support to the efforts of him and his staff at the Mission.

Norway supports Kosovo and the other Western Balkan countries in their Euro-Atlantic ambitions. Full integration in Euro-Atlantic structures will however not be possible for neither Kosovo nor Serbia without a comprehensive agreement on full normalisation of relations. There is no alternative to the EU-led process, dialogue, and compromise. Norway will continue to contribute to the normalization process between Kosovo and Serbia.

It is the prerogative of Kosovo to decide whether to permit on its territory voting in another country’s elections. However, we are disappointed that Kosovo decided not to allow the Serbian elections to proceed as had been the case previously.

We are deeply concerned about the recent attacks on the Kosovo Police in the north of Kosovo. We note that relevant law enforcement agencies are investigating the incidents, and stress that any use of force against the Kosovo Police is unacceptable. The incidents can also be perceived as an attack on the OSCE Mission’s efforts, working extensively in support of law enforcement and public safety in this area.

A stable and prosperous Kosovo is crucial to the security and stability of South-East Europe, and consequently the entire OSCE region. Efforts to strengthen regional cooperation and socio-economic development in Kosovo are important in this regard.

Mr Chair,

Women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation is essential for Kosovo to succeed in its reform efforts. Combatting gender-based and domestic violence continues to be an important area of work, and we appreciate the Mission’s broad approach in this regard. We welcome the recent adoption of Kosovo’s Strategy for Protection against Domestic Violence and Violence against Women, and the implementation of its Action Plan in combatting domestic and gender-based violence.

We highly appreciate the Mission’s support to and review of legislative processes, as well as the varying training of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers. Further strengthening of electoral processes and of the security sector are important. The Mission’s intention to continue to prioritize the strengthening of Kosovo institutions, both at local and national level, is well-founded and sensible.

An inclusive society furthers democratic development. We therefore support the Mission’s focus on for example minority issues, involvement of youth in decision- making processes, and increased participation of women in public life. We strongly welcome the support to free, independent, and diversified journalism, and to the safety of journalists and media workers.

Finally, allow me to again point out the need for results-oriented reporting, instead of just mentioning activities. Such an approach is helpful for us as participating States to understand where and how the OSCE makes a difference.

Mr. Chair,

Through tailor-made assistance to the host countries, the field operations contribute directly to improving the situation for the population on the ground. The Mission to Kosovo remains a key international institution in Kosovo for building democracy and institutions and for protecting and promoting human rights.

Thank you.