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Resolving tensions in Kosovo through dialogue and fostering trust.
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Resolving tensions in Kosovo through dialogue and fostering trust.

During the ambassador’s briefing, Caroline Ziadeh, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, mentioned a significant event that occurred on September 24th. The incident resulted in the death of four individuals, including a Kosovo police officer, and caused injuries to others.

“[These events] exacerbated an already deteriorating security environment, characterized by an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and contradictory perceptions touching much of the population,” she said, especially in northern Kosovo and among Kosovo-Serb communities elsewhere in Kosovo.

April elections boycott

Ms. Ziadeh, who is also in charge of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), stated that the worsening security conditions were made worse by the Kosovo-Serb community’s refusal to participate in local elections in April. This was especially notable in areas where they make up the majority.

She emphasized that the current deadlock in politics, which is having an adverse effect on the safety and welfare of the people, can only be resolved through finding a middle ground.

Political responsibilities

Ms. Ziadeh stated that as tensions continue to rise, it is crucial for political leaders on both sides to take responsibility for addressing the security demands and wider socio-economic issues faced by all members of the community.

The current climate of mistrust, inflammatory accusations in the public sphere, and divisive political language has put a strain on communication channels and increased tensions within society.

The UN official emphasized that elected leaders have a responsibility to address the security and socio-economic concerns of all groups in society, regardless of their ethnicity, language, or political affiliation. Instead of creating conflict through political messages aimed at one group, they should work towards promoting unity.

Women and youth

Ms. Ziadeh stated that there have been ongoing efforts to encourage the involvement of women and youth in initiatives for peace and security.

UNMIK has supported women-led civil society organizations and encouraged the active involvement of youth and women in decision-making processes.

Despite the difficulties, efforts to tackle important problems like countering false information, increasing youth participation in decision-making, and reducing domestic violence have yielded favorable outcomes.

Building trust

Ms. Ziadeh also mentioned that this year is the fifth anniversary of UNMIK’s efforts to build trust, which has successfully promoted communication, unity, and adaptability within local communities.

An instance of these endeavors is the Barabar Centre, which officially launched in May. The word Barabar translates to equality and fairness in the official languages of Kosovo, Albanian and Serbian.

Ms. Ziadeh stated that the Centre has successfully hosted over 40 multiethnic events within a span of six months, proving that it is still feasible to unite individuals during difficult circumstances.

She stated that the Centre, located in the center of Pristina, provides a secure environment for individuals of diverse backgrounds and communities to gather and openly discuss beyond polarizing political language.