As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
December 12, 2013
The United States joins with others in congratulating the people of Kosovo for the completion of the historic elections there over the past month. Throughout the first round on November 3, the re-voting on November 17, and the second round on December 1, voters in Kosovo exercised one of the most basic rights of a democratic society, the right to choose one’s elected officials.
We praise the work of Kosovo authorities in coordination with the international community to ensure successful elections throughout the country. We reiterate our deep appreciation for the leadership and staff of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, staff of other OSCE operations in the region, and the staff of the Secretariat here in Vienna who all played a critical role in ensuring these elections were successful, especially through their facilitation work in northern Kosovo. We also thank the EULEX and KFOR missions for their indispensable contributions to ensuring that voting could take place in a safe and secure process.
These elections were not without challenges, and there were a few who sought to derail these elections through violence and intimidation. To put it simply, they have failed, and the democratic institutions of transparent elections and the rule of law have been more firmly established in Kosovo.
These elections were a significant milestone in the comprehensive EU-led Dialogue process, and the landmark April 19th agreement on normalization of relations. We continue to support this process, and we encourage the leadership in Belgrade and Pristina, and the newly-elected local and municipal officials throughout Kosovo, to put their utmost efforts into its full and timely implementation.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.