JAHJAGA: I AM NOT ALLOWED TO RESIGN

Republic of Kosovo is a sovereign state and has full territorial integrity; it establishes relations with all countries as an equal international subject.

RADIO FREE EUROPE: A political dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has been announced. With which preconditions will Prishtina enter the dialogue and what are the discussion themes which might be put forward?

ATIFETE JAHJAGA:Republic of Kosovo is a sovereign state and has full territorial integrity; it establishes relations with all countries as an equal international subject.

It will remain such an entity in every relation and liaison with the Republic of Serbia. As two neighbouring countries we need to normalize the relations between our two states by establishing diplomatic relations,

In relations between states, dialoguing is usually undertaken for all matters that are of interest to both countries, finalized by signing of internationally binding bilateral agreements. With political dialogue, I understand the will and readiness expressed by two states to agree upon any issue.

RADIO FREE EUROPE: Do the institutions of Pristina have a strategy or action plan for the forthcoming talks with the institutions in Belgrade?

ATIFETE JAHJAGA:No. There is no need for a plan or strategy, because as you know, the determined strategy for the Republic of Kosovo is set by the Declaration of Independence of our country. Institutional action is the concrete action, one that encompasses the programme of the Government of Kosovo and the work and acts of the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo.

In one word, full adherence and implementation of the Constitution and the Laws of the Republic of Kosovo.

RADIO FREE EUROPE: It is said that the hardest issue to be discussed will be the issue of the north of the country. There are many options for the north, including the special status and autonomy. How ready are the institutions in Prishtina to enter discussions with Belgrade related to this issue, taking into consideration the requests for a special status for the north.

ATIFETE JAHJAGA: Our state, the Republic of Kosovo, will never and with no one, discusses any part of our territory, our sovereignty. There will be internal dialogue with the citizens and their legal representatives; there will be dialogue with Serb citizens in the three municipalities in the north of Republic of Kosovo, as there is dialogue with the other citizens in the other regions and municipalities, including those with ethnic Serbian majority. But, there is no, and there will not be an external dialogue for internal matters of the Republic of Kosovo.

RADIO FREE EUROPE: Can there be an imposed solution for the north, as neither of the both sides is relinquishing their demands? 

ATIFETE JAHJAGA:No, there is no imposition and there is no one to impose, because each solution must be a willing and applicable one. Of course, the readiness of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo is a must, together with the freely expressed will of the citizens of the certain areas. These two, are part of an inseparable process.

RADIO FREE EUROPE: Kosovo and Serbia aspire for membership in EU. It looks like, both of them are presently obstructing each other’s journey, by not normalizing the relations with each other. Is EU the place where relations are normalized?

ATIFETE JAHJAGA: No. I consider that before we join the European Union, we must solve all outstanding issues and we must show and prove that we are ready to comply with all standards, norms and conditions to become an EU member.

For the Republic of Kosovo and for the Republic of Serbia as well, the road to EU integration will be easier if we help each other and present a good example of neighbourly relations. 

RADIO FREE EUROPE: We are approaching the day when the stage of supervision of the Independence of Kosovo will end. What are your expectations and especially what are the challenges after this stage ends?

ATIFETE JAHJAGA:They are normal challenges of any free and independent state, state that is an equal subject with all other states in the international arena, state that is a factor of peace and stability and is ready to undertake all obligations and responsibilities. 

RADIO FREE EUROPE:  Madam President, we will be moving to an issue that has to do with your mandate. Call for your resignation made by the largest opposition party DLK is becoming increasingly boisterous. What is your position, taking into consideration that there is a Constitutional Court ruling related to your mandate?

ATIFETE JAHJAGA: The ruling of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo is related to a specific amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, which was proclaimed to be unconstitutional, and it states that by means of amendments the constitutional mandate of any elected institution cannot be shortened. 

I was elected by the vote in the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo and an agreement reached by three political parties has preceded my nomination. I am under obligation to respect the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Kosovo.  I have also expressed my will to respect the political agreement. But it is for the parties to reach unity and to find the modalities for the implementation and honoring of that agreement.

I am the factor of unity and it does not befit me to take sides or to support the positions or standings of one or two political parties. The resignation of the President of the country has not been foreseen and I am not allowed to resign, because this would mean a different election procedure and an acting President.

We are a State with consolidated democracy and it is foreseen that we have a regular process for the election of the president and a regular hand over procedure, irrespective of the fact if that is after one month, one year or at the end of the official mandate.  

RADIO FREE EUROPE: However, the threats made by DLK that they will block electoral and constitutional reforms because of you not resigning, are becoming more frequent. Will you not relinquish your post so that the reforms get implemented?

ATIFETE JAHJAGA: No!  It is a matter for the political parties to decide to what degree and how they want to implement the electoral and constitutional reforms. I am outside of this process, but as the President of the country I am interested that this reform is successful and brings us closer to the state of law.

After the end of the supervision of Kosovo’s independence it is crucial that through constitutional and electoral reform we reach the highest level of democracy, the level enjoyed by the countries of European Union.

These changes are not linked to an individual, group or political party, but are connected to the destiny of the country and the direction we will take in the future.

RADIO FREE EUROPE: You said that you are a factor of unity; How hard will it be for you to maintain this role if DLK maintains its position in opposing you?

ATIFETE JAHJAGA: I have been and will be a factor of unity by respecting the constitution and the laws of our country. I maintain correct relations with all political parties and subjects. In certain moments, a political party might disagree or express a stance against me but I see that as part of democracy, and it is such. I my work, I do not depend on positions or actions of political parties.