Response to the Report of the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Michael Davenport
As delivered by Ambassador Michael Carpenter
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
October 13, 2022
Ambassador Davenport, welcome back to the Permanent Council. The United States continues to strongly support the work of your Mission and appreciates our close collaboration to support Kosovo’s development as a member of the European community of nations and as a secure, inclusive democracy based on transparent governance.
Russia’s war against Ukraine, now in its eighth month, continues to undermine and erode security across the OSCE area, including the Western Balkans. The consequences of Russia’s brutal aggression, and the mounting human and economic costs, are ever widening. It is in this challenging but unavoidable context that we applaud the Mission’s effective engagement across the core elements of your mandate, such as democratization, security and public safety, and human rights.
We agree institution-building remains a critical priority. Your assistance to a wide range of Kosovo institutions at the Assembly, Ministry, and municipal levels is essential to defending and promoting the core OSCE values which the Mission seeks to advance through its mandate and work. Similarly, the early warning function the Mission continues to perform on behalf of the international community remains critical for conflict prevention and the maintenance of security and stability in Kosovo. I note especially your team’s efforts to ensure compliance with the Special Protective Zone legislation, proper handling of hate crimes, and awareness of security incidents affecting non-majority communities – where the Mission’s on-the-ground presence via its five Regional Centers and activities spread across 38 municipalities are advancing our common goals.
We continue to urge the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to fully implement their past commitments, refrain from actions and rhetoric that increase tensions, and to engage urgently, constructively, and in good faith in the EU-facilitated Dialogue. The end goal of this process is a binding agreement on comprehensive normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo centered on mutual recognition. We have seen that the Dialogue promotes regional stability with the necessary political leadership and will. We have applauded the August 27 arrangement by President Vučić and Prime Minister Kurti to facilitate cross-border travel. And there is more urgent work to accomplish, and we strongly support the European Union in continuing the hard work of diplomacy within the Dialogue framework. It is time for both countries to take a strong step forward towards their strategic goals. This requires serious and committed engagement from leaders in both Pristina and Belgrade.
The United States seeks a Kosovo that is a fully integrated member of the international community and a part of Europe whole, free and at peace. To this end, we coordinate closely with the European Union, our NATO allies, the OSCE and other international organizations to provide the support Kosovo needs to move closer to its European future. However, it is only by hearing directly from host country officials, in conjunction with the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, that we can fully understand the dynamics on the ground and determine how best to address them. We therefore welcome this practice and encourage it to be continued in the future. We believe it is unfortunate that Kosovo is not a member of this body and is therefore unable to speak for itself. We look forward to the day when Kosovo is an OSCE participating State and that can happen.