1. I thank Mr. Farid Zarif, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for his briefing. My delegation welcomes His Excellency Ivica Dacic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, and His Excellency Hashim Thaci, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, and thanks them both for their statements.
2. Malaysia joins other countries in welcoming the recent formation of the Government in Kosovo following the legislative elections in June last year. After a six-month delay, we applaud the power-sharing agreement between the coalition parties based on the spirit of compromise and inclusiveness. We commend the key role played by President Atifete Jahjaga in facilitating this outcome and her unwavering efforts to engage with the political leaders in Kosovo.
3. With the formation of the coalition government, we call on all parties to close ranks and work closely together based on collective responsibility towards a democratic, stable and prosperous future. We also take note of the agreement between the coalition parties to establish the Association of Serb municipalities within several months’ time and we look forward to see progress on this long-contentious issue.
4. Malaysia fully supports the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia and welcomes the resumption of the political dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade facilitated by the European Union in Brussels next week. Despite the stalled dialogue at the highest level due to the delay in the formation of the Kosovo government in the second half of last year, Malaysia is pleased to note that the EU-led dialogue has nevertheless continued at the technical level.
5. In December 2014, the Constitutional Court of Serbia has declined a request by the Democratic Party of Serbia to review the constitutionality of the 19 April 2013 “First Agreement of Principles Governing the Normalisation of Relations” between Serbia and Kosovo. With the Court’s decision, Malaysia hopes that all parties in Serbia and Kosovo would remain committed to and ensure the full implementation of the Agreement signed by their governments under the auspices of the European Union in Brussels. Indeed, this is the only way forward for a better common future of both Serbia and Kosovo.
6. Malaysia also wishes to see progress in the establishment of a “Specialist Court”, as agreed between Kosovo and the EU, to try cases arising from the findings of the EU Special Investigative Task Force last year. Progress in establishing the Specialist Court to try possible crimes against humanity is vital in promoting reconciliation and closure among the communities in Kosovo.
7. Malaysia welcomes the stable security situation in Kosovo, as reported by SRSG Zarif. We fully support the important role played by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to promote security, stability and respect for human rights in Kosovo and the region. We also welcome the continuing mandate of the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) to further strengthen the rule of law and the judicial institutions in Kosovo towards the path of European integration.
8. Based on the Secretary-General’s report, from October 2014 to January 2015, a number of peaceful demonstrations continued to be held in Kosovo, mainly to protest against prevailing social and economic conditions. Malaysia hopes that the new government in Kosovo would take heed of the demands by its citizens for political and socio-economic reforms to improve their living standards.
9. Malaysia welcomes the ongoing cooperation among the religious communities in Kosovo, including in protecting cultural and religious heritage. Such cooperation could serve as a bridge in building confidence and trust among the religious communities in Kosovo. We strongly condemn any attempt to spread hate and instigate inter-religious violence including by desecrating cultural and religious sites.
10. As a multi-racial and multi-religious country, Malaysia has its share of difficulties and challenges in ensuring a united, stable, and prosperous country. We believe that the value and practice of moderation is crucial in bridging differences as it calls for mutual respect, acceptance, and understanding between the various groups. We also need to prevent political, social and economic marginalisation in order to ensure unity and stability in a multi-ethnic society. In this regard, Malaysia stands ready to support Kosovo in its path towards nation-building, inclusive democracy, reconciliation and economic progress.
I thank you, Mr. President.