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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Mr. President,


Ladies and Gentlemen,


I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly H.E. Miroslav Lajčak for his initiative to organize this important event. His endeavour is indicative of a strong commitment to preventing conflicts and sustaining peace.


Serbia aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union. However, I shall make a few additional points in my national capacity.


Mr. President,


The consequences of an increasing number of conflicts and inter-connected crises are far-reaching and fraught with social tensions and instability. They often result in threats and challenges, ever more complex and uncertain and disruptive of the future.


 Peace and security, development and human rights have always been at the core of our Organization, but the complex nature of today’s challenges calls for innovative ways as we strive to find common solutions. To that end, we must strengthen multilateralism and the role of the United Nations, including through adapting its system to the needs of our time. The area of peacebuilding and sustaining peace is no exception.


Serbia welcomes the UNSG Report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace pursuant to the twin resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council on the review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, driven by the effort to pursue peace at all stages of conflict in a more efficient and effective way. As conflicts emerge in different parts of the world simultaneously while peacekeeping efforts are often overburdened and overstretched, the role of diplomacy in the area of prevention, mediation and peaceful resolution of conflicts has become more essential than ever before. The above-mentioned documents therefore provide a solid basis to further strengthen our common endeavours.


Mr. President,


Conflicts rarely come out of nowhere and their root causes are many and far reaching. Inter-linkage between issues such as poverty eradication, political uncertainty, food and water shortages and combating inequalities are critical underpinnings of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and should not be addressed in isolation. Peace can only be attained if the promise of the Agenda is achieved for, in the words of the Secretary-General, it is “the blueprint of the common vision of society towards which the world is trying to move”. We are well aware that growth and development must be sustainable and that they must be respective of environmental protection, eradication of poverty, advancement of gender equality and the ending of violence against women and girls. And there can be no growth and development without peace and stability, just as no long-term peace and stability are achievable without growth, development and respect for human rights. Serbia’s experience in the last couple of decades has made the gravitas of this paradigm only too evident and all-important. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without peaceful and inclusive societies, promotion of the rule of law at all levels, providing of justice for all and the building of efficient and effective institutions, nationally and internationally.


Mr. President,


The importance of the regional and sub-regional perspective in addressing the issue of peacebuilding and sustaining peace can not be stressed enough. Various international organizations have come to the Western Balkans for various purposes and at various times, engaging in promoting processes, comprehensive and indispensable for modern conflict resolution and peace building. A host country to a number of international and regional presences, Serbia understands and appreciates the need to work closely with key international and regional organizations in building new partnerships in a harmonized way.


In this context, let me point out once again what my country has said on numerous occasions: the presence of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is of paramount importance for stability in, and the creation of conditions conducive to a lasting and sustainable solution of the question of, Kosovo and Metohija. Serbia also appreciates UNMIK’s engagement in creating conditions for security, prosperity and the respect of human rights of all communities in Kosovo and Metohija. The contribution of other international organizations which, through their missions under the auspices of the United Nations, such as KFOR, EULEX and the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, as well as the specialized agencies of the United Nations, is also invaluable and highly appreciated. Their continued presence in the Serbian southern Province, especially the presence of UNMIK, is indispensable for the overall security, stability and the implementation of the agreements reached within the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Priština. The Serbian side in the dialogue, let me point out, has confirmed time and again its constructiveness and readiness to make compromises, often difficult to achieve, and contributed in that way to the quest for mutually acceptable solutions for multiple complex issues. We have embarked upon the process in the belief that the solution of all outstanding issues in a status-neutral framework will contribute to peace, stabilization and the realization of conditions for the Western Balkans' unimpeded progress toward the EU membership. Only through a committed dialogue will it be possible to resolve all outstanding issues and build a stable region.


Mr. President,


We are all aware that challenges in many parts of the world are numerous, that security is fractious and intractable and that we need continuous commitment and hard work to address them. All along, though, we must not be discouraged and deterred by the distances that we may be called upon to traverse and must not, as Secretary-General Hammarskjöld once said, “measure the height of a mountain until [we] have reached the top. Then [we] will see how low it was”. To ensure that we are all part of a United Nations that is “fit for purpose”, our deliberations must be conducted in a transparent and inclusive way and our sights firmly trained on the prize of peace.


Thank you, Mr. President.