Kosovo’s declaration of independence and women’s participation in peace processes were among the issues discussed at a meeting of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, and Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, at UN headquarters in New York earlier this week, 26 February 2008.
Ban Ki-moon discussed Kosovo’s difficult circumstances since 1999 and the role of the United Nations, especially cooperation with the European Union regarding the involvement of the international community in the region. The UN Secretary General stressed the importance of continued international participation and believes that UN Security Council Resolution 1244 remains the basis for the UN’s continued involvement in Kosovo. Mrs. Gísladóttir informed him that Iceland intended to recognize Kosovo’s independence but that a final decision on timing had not been taken.
Ban Ki-moon and Mrs. Gísladóttir used the occasion to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. The Secretary General was supportive of her suggestion that the International Women’s Commission for a Just and Sustainable Palestinian-Israeli Peace (IWC) become a participant in any future peace negotiations. Mrs. Gísladóttir emphasized that without the active participation of women and civil society the peace process would fail to gain a solid and sustainable foothold in both societies.
The leaders also discussed two issues high on their agendas: climate change and gender equality. The Foreign Minister highlighted Iceland’s growing international work in the field of renewable energy. Increased awareness in this field and gender equality are important priorities of Iceland’s foreign policy.