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

As delivered by Minister Counsellor Knut-Are Okstad at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 19 October 2023.

Mr Chair, 

It is our pleasure to welcome Ambassador Michael Davenport back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his latest report. 

Norway supports Kosovo and other Western Balkan countries in their Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Full integration in these structures will however not be possible for neither Kosovo nor Serbia without a comprehensive agreement on full normalization of relations. Efforts to strengthen regional cooperation and socio-economic development in Kosovo are important in this regard. 

Mr Chair, 

Norway condemned the attack on Kosovo police officers in northern Kosovo on 24 September. The responsible perpetrators must face justice.  

Recent developments illustrate the importance of reducing tensions in northern Kosovo and between Kosovo and Serbia. We urge to refrain from violence, engage in constructive dialogue and abstain from further provocative actions and rhetoric. To avoid further escalation, the political dialogue must continue. A stable and prosperous Kosovo is crucial to the security and stability of South-East Europe, and consequently to the entire OSCE region.  

Mr Chair, 

Norway contributes ExB funding to the Mission’s work to the strengthening of the Canine (K-9) capacity of the police services to detect and confiscate SALW, ammunition and explosives as well as to the Mission’s work with Strengthening the Electoral Process in Kosovo. Norway will continue to support efforts to increase stability and security in the region, and OSCE activities contributing to this end. 

We continue to praise the Mission’s efforts and progress in a great range of areas, including strengthening the judicial system, promoting tolerance and understanding, as well as its assistance to legislative developments. I would like to point specifically to the Mission’s assistance to the Kosovo police as well as its continued efforts to combat trafficking in human beings. 

Considering the fragile and complex security environment, the Mission, with its monitoring and early warning mandate, has a unique role. The Mission remains a key international institution for building democracy and institutions in Kosovo and for protecting and promoting human rights. 

Thank you.