The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Kosovo briefed the Security Council on Wednesday (20 April) on some "incidents of serious concern" that happened in Northern Kosovo, calling upon the leaders of Pristina and Belgrade to "be very judicious in their actions and in their political rhetoric."
Addressing the Council for the first time, Caroline Ziadeh, who also acts as the head of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), told Member States that "during such complex days, these leaders bear the main responsibility for reducing tensions rather than fuelling them."
"This applies at the political level and, equally, in the public arena," Ziadeh added.
According to the Special Representative, the attacks happened a few days ago and "apparently" targeted directly Kosovo police patrols. She said that gunshots were fired at the patrols, along with stones and pyrotechnic devices thrown.
Ziadeh also noted the 9th anniversary of the First Agreement of Principles Governing the Normalisation of Relations, marked on Tuesday, saying the process has led to meaningful results on various practical matters, but progress remains "tentative and slow."
"Whatever the pace of discussions -- which we hope will increase -- another principle bears re-emphasizing: However difficult the path toward agreements and solutions, unilateral actions -- from any side – have the potential to damage the real interests of the people on both sides," the Special Representative said.
According to her, "dramatic shocks to Kosovo’s and other regional economies were building up well before the onset of events in Ukraine", with economies struggling to manage and recover from the pandemic.
"Inflation, supply shortages, rising interest rates, and increasing debt burdens were already occurring, and have since been exacerbated," Ziadeh said.
Nikola Selaković, the Minister of Foreign Affairs from Serbia, told Member States that "the situation in Kosovo and Metohija is far from normal and stable."
"In this part of our country, citizens of Serbian nationality as well as other non-Albanians are still distressed and facing each new day with great apprehension because they are uncertain if their fundamental human rights could be violated or denied. Such feelings are a reaction to the instability generated by the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina," Selaković said.
Deputy Prime-Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs from Kosovo, Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz, said that "this meeting today is taking place in a new era in Europe and in the world."
According to Gërvalla-Schwarz, "the Europe which has existed before the Russian invasion in Ukraine isn't anymore."
"By destroying the post-war era, Russia is endangering the UN as well. Therefore, our debate today cannot be only about UNMIK, because it has to take into account these fundamental changes as well," the minister said.