1. I wish to welcome Special Representative Zahir Tanin and to thank him for his first briefing to the Council. Malaysia looks forward to work closely with Ambassador Tanin, in support of the works of UNMIK.
2. I also welcome First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic, and Ambassador Vlora Çitaku of Kosovo, back to New York, and thank them both for their statements.
3. Malaysia is pleased with the milestones achieved by Kosovo during the reporting period, including the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU last month. We sincerely hope that the implementation of the agreement would bring stability and prosperity to the people of Kosovo, via good governance, the rule of law, and socio-economic reforms.
4. Malaysia also welcomes the progress made by Kosovo towards the normalisation of its relations with its neighbours, especially the package of agreements reached by the Prime Ministers of Serbia and Kosovo – facilitated by the EU – on 25 August in Brussels.
5. We also commend the agreement signed between Kosovo and Montenegro to delineate their borders.
6. We are however, concerned about the violent protests by opposition parties who are against the package of agreements and the territorial delineation agreement with Montenegro. We call on the relevant parties to resolve their differences via dialogue and engagement, rather than resorting to the use of violence and intimidation to achieve their political ends.
7. Malaysia commends the Assembly of Kosovo for adopting constitutional amendment and laws to enable the establishment of the Specialist Court to try cases arising from the findings of the EU Special Investigative Task Force. This significant progress reflects the political will and commitment by the leaders in Kosovo to ensure accountability and to promote closure and reconciliation.
8. In view of the challenges faced by the region and the world in combatting terrorism, we applaud the adoption of the five-year strategy by the Government of Kosovo for the prevention of violent extremism and radicalization in September. The strategy and its action plan reflect the strong commitment by the government in addressing transnational challenges to counter violent extremism.
9. With regard to Kosovo’s application to UNESCO, we are encouraged by the overwhelming support for Kosovo last week, despite falling short of three votes for the application to succeed.
10. Malaysia was supportive of Kosovo’s membership in UNESCO as it would lead to further assistance and funding for culture and education in Kosovo. We also believe that it could ensure adequate international protection for religious and cultural sites in the country.
11. Despite the setback, we urge the Kosovo authorities to remain steadfast in their commitment to preserve and protect cultural and religious heritage sites and to engage in dialogue with the relevant communities to address issues of mutual concerns.
12. In concluding, Malaysia stressed the need for all parties in Kosovo to intensify efforts towards national reconciliation between the various ethnicities and religions, and to ensure respect for human rights. We will continue to support Kosovo towards this end.
13. I join my other colleagues in reaffirming support for UNMIK, which continues to play a key role in promoting security and stability in Kosovo. We also commend the the OSCE, the Kosovo Force, and EULEX for their immense contribution towards peace and stability in Kosovo.
I thank you, Mr. President.