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

As delivered at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 9 May 2024

Madam Chair,

I am making this statement in my national capacity and also on behalf of Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and my own country Czechia.

Madam Chair,

We are very pleased to welcome the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Michael Davenport, back to the Permanent Council. We recognize and value the outstanding work carried out by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo (OMiK) to support the country’s authorities in strengthening their institutions and promoting stability and security for all communities in the region.

We continue to believe that normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia is essential to regional stability and prosperity. We urge both countries to engage in good faith and in a constructive manner within the EU-facilitated Dialogue, avoiding unilateral actions, with the aim of strengthening democracy and EU economic integration, and fostering multi-ethnic cooperation, respect, and trust. By accepting the “Agreement on the path to normalization between Kosovo and Serbia” and its Annex, both sides have assumed legally binding obligations which must be now fully implemented. Last but not least, progress toward lasting peace and toward European integration is vitally important for the people of Kosovo and Serbia and for the stability of the region.

OMiK is the largest OSCE Field Mission and plays an essential role in Kosovo. We particularly appreciate OMiK’s close and effective partnerships with Kosovo institutions, especially with municipalities and civil society organizations, as well as its creative and persistent work across the core pillars of its mandate on human rights, democratization, and security and public safety. In this respect, we recognize OMIK’s key role in promoting tolerance, inter-community and inter-faith dialogue, and acceptance of diversity in Kosovo and encourage the Mission to pursue these efforts.

Moreover, we welcome and support the work of the Mission on the ground via its five regional centers. The Mission’s coverage in all 38 of Kosovo’s municipalities is critical to the OSCE’s early warning and conflict prevention function. We also strongly support OMiK’s continued commitment to women’s rights and gender equality, and its efforts to mainstream these aspects throughout the Mission’s work. Finally, we would also like to praise OMIK’s work in support of respect for language rights in Kosovo.  This is a key component in fostering reconciliation in any war-torn society.   

We appreciate the informal engagement the Chairpersonship organized with Ambassador Davenport on May 8. We are encouraged that the Chair will continue with the past – and best – practice of inviting partners and beneficiaries of the Mission on the ground during the next scheduled informal meeting in October. As a matter of good governance within our organization, one of the best ways to understand the impact of the OSCE field missions is to hear directly from field mission interlocutors. It is essential for participating States and partners who are cooperating with OMiK, and we hope and expect this practice will continue in the future.

Thank you, Madam Chair.