President Thaçi participated in the open debate with the civil society on the Kosovo Army

Prishtina, March 14, 2017 - The President of the country, Hashim Thaçi, took part today in the open debate with the civil society at the roundtable with subject “The military mission for the KSF, the road ahead”, organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Security Policy Research Centre.

President Thaçi said that today’s debate comes at the right time, because in the context of transparency and inclusiveness it is our duty to inform the citizens of Kosovo correctly and straight about the steps to be undertaken for the achievement of this goal.

The President said it is important to explain all the phases of decision-making, until the successful conclusion of this legal initiative, which from the national importance is considered to be of essential interest for the democratic functioning of our state.

“The Kosovo Security Force will be a factor to maintain peace and stability in Kosovo and in the region, but it will be ready to contribute even beyond the region, in the world, whenever Kosovo is required to contribute. The transformation of the KSF is done based on the analysis produced within the Strategic Review of the Security Sector which determines the transformation of the KSF as a target with priority”, stated President Thaçi.

He stressed that in the working groups for the drafting of the basic document all the protagonists of the security sector in Kosovo have been engaged.

“We have made the aspiration for the transformation of the KSF into the Kosovo Army familiar to everyone for a long time. This aspiration of ours has been supported by our international partners”, stressed President Thaçi.

Since the establishment of the KSF, NATO and other friend countries of Kosovo, like the USA, the UK, Germany and other countries, President Thaçi said to have collaborated with the KSF to raise the level of its preparation into a professional force of NATO standards.

“The KSF has fulfilled all the requirements and tasks given by the present legal framework which regulates its functioning. Now the conditions have been created for it to move forward in its growth. The KSF is now ready for transformation, to become an army”, stated President Thaçi.

President Thaçi said that our preferred path for the transformation of the KSF, the one on which we have worked all these years, has been and remains the one through the changes which also include the amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. But, according to the President, the MPs of the Serbian List have made it clear many times that they are prevented from Belgrade to support the transformation of the KSF.

“As we look forward to the opportunity to consult and to coordinate with all parties in Kosovo, however, we cannot accept to consult and coordinate on issues of strategic interest and the sovereignty of our country with Serbia. Even though we have started the dialogue on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia we are seeking for this process to get a new quality, which will turn it into a process for reconciliation, cooperation and good neighborliness, however Serbia towards Kosovo retains the same policies which have caused war and genocide”, said President Thaçi.

He added that Serbia is still not a constructive partner, neither with Kosovo, nor with the region, but is a source of nationalism which is experienced as a threat to the entire region.

“Recent evidence for this is the provocation with the train, the one with the wall in Mitrovica, military maneuvers close to the border with Kosovo”, stated President Thaçi.

According to him, these steps are completely in contradiction also with the aims of the international community in our region and cannot be justified in any way, not even with the justification that Serbia is in electoral campaign.

“I am perfectly aware that the safety and preservation of the sovereignty of Kosovo primarily depends on our close cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance, NATO. However, it is also our constitutional duty to build the necessary defense capacities to store our sovereignty”, added President Thaçi.

He stressed that Kosovo will maintain at any cost the partnership with the international community, especially the partnership and friendship with the United States of America.

This partnership, according to President Thaçi, is built on common interests for peace and lasting stability, on the same values and principles we share with the USA and with EU.

President Thaçi stated that the transformation of the KSF will be a process which will evolve gradually and as we have been coordinated so far, in details, with our collaborators and supporters, the same we will keep doing now and in the future.

“I, as President, have the duty to make sure for Kosovo to deepen cooperation with NATO, because the membership in this military organization is our essential purpose. Moreover, I have the duty to deepen the cooperation with the United States of America, because the very existence and functioning of our state is the result of our joint efforts. Therefore, I have asked for the full understanding of our partners in this process, which is not made unilaterally, but is initiated in a natural and transparent manner”, stressed President Thaçi.

As expected, President Thaçi said the Draft Law on the Army of Kosovo has unified the political spectrum of Kosovo and has strengthened the confidence of the citizens of Kosovo in our determination to take decisions in their interest and the interest of our state.

At the end, President Thaçi expressed his confidence that all the political protagonists involved in this process will fulfill their duty and with commitment will do their work for the successful conclusion of this process.