Let me thank you Caroline Ziadeh for your briefing, and your leadership in delivering on the Mission’s mandate.
We also thank the Secretary-General for his report.
As we have underlined before: Norway supports Kosovo and the other Western Balkan countries in their Euro-Atlantic ambitions.
We are concerned to note however, that the report of the Secretary-General describes heightened rhetoric between Belgrade and Pristina, and the escalation of tensions on the ground- which have impacted the progress towards normalisation of relations.
We encourage the parties to strengthen their dialogue, and to engage constructively based on the Brussels Agreements.
And in this connection, we welcome the energy roadmap agreement in June with Serbia; and the agreement on ID-cards reached in August under the EU-facilitated dialogue.
The latter has improved free movement between Kosovo and Serbia, and hopefully settled problems that have sparked considerable tensions.
In the same spirit, we hope the parties will step up the dialogue to find a permanent solution to the licence plate issue.
We do however strongly regret the increased tensions in Northern Kosovo ahead of the agreement on ID-cards, and call on the parties to refrain from any unilateral actions that may cause further tensions in the area.
We are also disappointed by the continued lack of cooperation within the Belgrade-Pristina working group on missing persons.
Progress towards discovering the fate of those who went missing during the events in Kosovo from 1998 to 2000 is necessary- also as a reconciliation effort.
Let me touch on another important issue that requires attention:
Those responsible for conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) must be held to account.
Greater accountability is vital for reconciliation and peacebuilding in Kosovo.
We applaud the work done so far by the Kosovo government commission to verify, and recognise, the status of CRSV survivors.
And we commend UNMIK for their support to this process.
It is an important step forward for the rule of law and reversing the climate of discrimination and impunity.
Similarly, we positively note the Government’s recent approval of stricter legislation related to rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
We look forward to further updates on implementation of the five-year strategy for the protection against domestic violence, and violence against women.
Let me underscore that full integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures will not be possible for either Kosovo or Serbia without a comprehensive agreement on full normalisation of relations.
And the overall progress in the European Union facilitated dialogue continues to be slow.
Both Kosovo and Serbia should intensify their efforts to improve relations, be more pragmatic, and refrain from actions and rhetoric that may set back dialogue, or increase tensions leading to incidents.
The current status quo cannot be an option.
We urge all actors to fully engage.
There is no alternative to the EU-led process, dialogue or compromise.
And Norway will continue to make its contribution to the normalisation process. Thank you.