Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the UN Security Council Briefing on the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Thursday, 31 October 2019

Excellencies, in this the last formal meeting of the Security Council for this month, allow me to take a moment to thank you for your support during South Africa’s presidency. I also wish to express my sincere thanks to SCAD, the Conference and Meeting officers, translators and interpreters, who have ensured that our Presidency of this month has run smoothly.

I now turn to the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.

I thank Mr Zahir Tanin (Special Representative and Head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)) for his briefing.

Allow me to also welcome the presence of the representatives of Serbia and Kosovo, respectively, in joining this briefing.

South Africa reiterates its support for the important work of UNMIK in creating an environment conducive to compromise, reconciliation and stability. We commend UNMIK’s continued engagement with all stakeholders in pursuit of building trust amongst the communities through dialogue and with initiative aimed at empowering the youth and women.

My delegation expresses its concern that the situation regarding the arrest of UNMIK personnel has not yet been resolved but we await the outcome of UNMIK’s internal investigation into the matter.

Excellencies,

The continued stalemate in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is of concern and we call on the two sides to refrain from actions or rhetoric that may increase tensions and further entrench divisions between the parties. Such actions, create instability on the ground and jeopardise the gains that have already been made through dialogue. 

South Africa can attest, through its own history that the path to achieving long-term solutions to what seems like intractable situations may not be easy but is vital to the peace and security of the region. South Africa’s own experience has shown us that we would not have succeeded if we had not engaged in sincere and constructive dialogue.

In conclusion, South Africa, therefore encourages all parties to show flexibility and take the necessary steps to actively pursue the resumption of dialogue, with the aim of working towards a viable and mutually acceptable solution and the normalisation of relations between the two sides.  This is not only important to stability in Belgrade and Pristina but to the security of the wider region.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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