Madam President,

I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for her intervention. I welcome their Excellencies, President Vučić and President Osmani, and take this opportunity to underline the strong human ties that unite Switzerland with their respective countries.  

The normalization of relations, on the basis of strengthened trust, is in the interests and to the benefit of the peoples of Kosovo and Serbia. Allow me to give three examples of approaches we would like to see strengthened:  

Firstly, measured rhetoric and responsible commitment on the part of political leaders: in order to look forward to a future in which past grievances are acknowledged without impeding progress, it is necessary for the political leaders of Kosovo and Serbia to lay the foundations for cooperation and common understanding, in order to set an example for their populations too.  

Secondly, a clear and increased commitment to the EU-facilitated dialogue: the progress made on the energy roadmap and license plates shows the concrete results of this format. Outstanding issues, including the consequences of implementing monetary regulations in Kosovo, need to be resolved through this dialogue, taking into account the interests of the communities concerned. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen the legitimacy and sustainability of solutions in the peace process, including through the increased participation of women in negotiations.  

Thirdly, concrete progress: more than a year after the promising decisions taken under the Brussels and Ohrid agreements, it is high time to move from commitments on paper to deeds. We call on Serbia to remove any ambiguity about its commitment to the agreements, and to refrain from opposing Kosovo's membership of international organizations. And we call on Kosovo to establish without delay the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities, a commitment made in 2013.  

Switzerland is committed to building constructive relations between the parties through practical and discreet measures. For example, since 2015 we have been facilitating meetings to enable direct contact between representatives of political parties in Kosovo and Serbia.

Madam President,

Both sides share responsibility for reducing tensions. Escalations like the one that occurred in Banjska last autumn must be avoided at all costs, and those responsible must be brought to justice. We reiterate our appreciation and continued support for KFOR's important work in ensuring a peaceful and secure environment.  

With regard to yesterday's votes on the dismissal of mayors in northern Kosovo, Switzerland regrets that the Serbian community did not participate. We encourage the government of Kosovo to step up its efforts to integrate the Serb minority into society.  

This brings us back to trust-building, both between communities and between parties, as a prerequisite for preserving peace and moving towards peaceful, prosperous multi-ethnic societies.  

I'd like to add a final approach to this subject with an example from the report: For the first time since 2021, the Working Group on Missing Persons, chaired by the ICRC, resumed its meetings in Geneva at the beginning of this year. Recognizing that dealing with the past is essential to promote reconciliation, we encourage continued cooperation in this and other areas, including sexual violence committed during the conflict.  

We thank UNMIK for its report, and remain ready to discuss constructively a possible strategic review of the Mission.  

To conclude, let me emphasize an observation made by the Secretary-General in the New Agenda for Peace: diplomatic cooperation, while important among like-minded countries, it is absolutely crucial between disagreeing countries.

I thank you.  

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