Statement by Albania delivered by Ambassador Eglantina Gjermeni in response to the report by the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo Meeting 1372 of the OSCE Permanent Council Thursday, 5 May 2022, Vienna

Thank you, Mr. Chair,
 
Albania warmly welcomes Ambassador Michael Davenport to the Permanent Council. We thank him and his team for the comprehensive report on the activities and engagement of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.
 
We are grateful for the assistance that the Mission gives to the institutions and people of the Republic of Kosova. We appreciate the Mission’s work in support of the country’s internal reforms, strengthening sustainable institutions, democratization and human rights, while protecting cultural heritage, as well as on security and public safety, media freedom, gender equality and empowerment of women.
 
Albania is pleased to see the Mission continuing its important work in encouraging public participation of civil society, with a focus on women and youth, and in providing support for stronger involvement of youth in decision-making and inter- and intra-community dialogue. The Mission’s programmes advance the objective of ensuring the sustainability and success of Kosova institutions and society, while contributing to a culture of local ownership and shared purpose.
 
The Mission notes that the situation pertaining to non-majority communities remained stable, with no major security incidents. We welcome the Mission’s support to the protection of property rights of non-majority communities and displaced persons. We encourage the proper attention to the right of the safe use and possession of property also for Kosova Albanians in the north of the country and, particularly, those who were displaced under threat during and after the war.
 
We reiterate that it is essential that Kosova representatives are present at OSCE meetings when Kosova is discussed. We look forward to continuing to hear directly from them about the positive impact of the OSCE work on the ground.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
Albania commends the reforms undertaken by the Government of Kosova. Local elections held last October brought yet another confirmation of the maturity of Kosova’s state and society.Kosova’s advancement on youth, Women Peace and Security, and women’s representation, including at the highest levels, is remarkable.
 
We appreciate Kosova Government’s attention to non-majority community rights, including through its decision of March 2022 to allocate a dedicated budget for each community according to their specific needs.
 
Similarly, we appreciate the enhanced efforts to fight corruption, strengthen rule of law and security, and to fight lawlessness all over the country’s territory. Transparency International assessed that Kosova had improved its ranking on perception of corruption by 17 places in 2021.
 
But crime knows no ethnic lines. It is hence unfortunate that successful Kosova Police operations last year were mis-portrayed as ethnically motivated. In a similar vein, recent attacks on Kosova Police in the country’s north should be clearly condemned by all actors. Failure to do so invigorates criminals and undermines relations between communities. These criminal attacks and the instrumentalization of minoritiescreate tensions at a delicate time for the region.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
As also reported by the Mission, the remains of seven victims found at the Kiževak mass grave site, near the Serbian town of Raška, in May last year, were handed over to Kosova in September. Peace and reconciliation can never be sustainable without justice and proper addressing of the war crimes committed in Kosova two decades ago, including in relation to the missing persons.
 
Regrettably, today we still hear echoes and derogatory language of the dark past that should have no place in our societies. The continued denial of the Reçak massacre by senior Serbian officials stokes the flame of nationalism, hampers reconciliation and shatters trust. Only by acknowledging the truth without ambiguity and by agreeing on well-documented facts, we can pave the way for a better future of peace and prosperity.
 
Albania fully supports the EU-facilitated dialogue between Kosova and Serbia and the practical steps towards the normalization of relations between the two countries. The final result should be a comprehensive, legally binding agreement, which enables mutual recognition. We welcome high-level contacts, such as the one that took place yesterday in Berlin between Prime Minister Kurti and President Vuçiç, which can give an impetus to the process.
 
We urge Kosova and Serbia to accelerate the dialogue and to design their future through mutual recognition, good neighbourliness, increased economic and trade relations, exchanges in science, education, and culture, and through people to people, in particular, young people.
 
We believe that what brings us together in our region – including the path of EU integration that all six countries have embraced – is greater than our divisions.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
Our region has come a long way. However, today’s achievement cannot be taken for granted, especially in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. We should not lose sight in properly mitigating possible threats coming our way.
 
We applaud the clear positioning of Kosova at this critical juncture for European security. The people and Government of Kosova have stood and stand on the right side of history: with Ukraine.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
In conclusion, we fully support the improvement of the living situation for people across all Kosova. Albania remains strongly committed to peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Western Balkans. The Mission in Kosovo continues to be a good example of the vast and profound positive impact that OSCE field operations can have, and in our region that is particularly the case. We thank Ambassador Davenport and his team for their good and hard work.
 
Thank you!

Adresa

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