Let me first thank the SRSG for his briefing, and welcome the Report of the Secretary-General. The report describes progress in some areas, but a slow pace in fighting political instability.
In this, combating corruption, and ensuring the independence of the judiciary, should be central. And while we commend the increased efforts towards ensuring accountability - and note with appreciation that the working group on transitional justice has begun - we remain concerned about de facto impunity for perpetrators of violence.
We urge Kosovo’s leaders to capitalise on the momentum from this year’s election, and consolidate the rule of law, combat corruption, and protect human rights.
All actors need to engage fully in important high-level political processes such as the European Union-facilitated dialogue with Serbia.
We encourage the parties to strengthen dialogue, and to engage constructively based on the Brussels Agreements; while exercising pragmatism in finding mutually acceptable compromises, and respecting the commitments they have already undertaken. A permanent solution to the vehicle plate issue would be a step in the right direction.
An agreement between Kosovo and Serbia on full normalisation of relations is key to avoiding a frozen conflict, and to achieving economic development. This is paramount to the future development of Kosovo, and of the region.
The negative socio-economic and political impacts of COVID-19 on Kosovo have been significant.
We have seen worrying trends of growing unemployment, continued loss of income, setbacks within the health and education sectors, and an increase in domestic violence.
· the protection of human rights,
· the strengthening of the rule of law, and the freedom of expression,
· and the fight against domestic and gender-based violence
are fundamental to social transformation.
We echo the Secretary-General's concerns about the incidents of gender-based and domestic violence in Kosovo. And welcome government institutions, civil society, and international organization’s ongoing efforts to address these issues - including those jointly implemented by UNMIK and other UN entities.
Further progress to fight gender-based violence, ensure property rights, and ease the impact of the pandemic on women and girls is essential for Kosovo's development into a democratic, multi-ethnic, and prosperous society.
We know women are key to peace. We call on parties to ensure women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in all aspects of dialogue and peacebuilding. The increased representation of women in parliament, and in the current government, should serve as inspiration for the full inclusion of women in the peace dialogue.
The question of a "review" of the UN Mission in Kosovo has been raised. In our opinion, although the UN Mission has adapted well in meeting new challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, we would support a looking at possible efficiency improvements.
Let me conclude by reiterating that there is no alternative to the EU-led process. It needs our full support. Norway will continue to work closely with EU institutions, key EU member states, and the US. We call on all parties to comply with their commitments in order to consolidate the gains made; and to engage constructively towards resolving the conflict.