President Thaçi’s address to Head of Missions of EU member states in Kosovo, KFOR, OSCE, EULEX and US Embassy

Dear Ambassadors

Thank you very much for the audience, again here, at this format, only a few weeks after I spoke to you in July, in full honesty and sincerity, about the actual situation of the dialogue process between Kosovo and Serbia on normalization of relations, and about the perspective for the achievement of a legally binding agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, as two independent states.

I told you then, and |I reiterate again today: It is the right time for a grand historic agreement, between the two states.

We cannot backtrack, as the history of the relations between Kosovo and Serbia is a tragic history.

We can also not stand still, or procrastinate, and we also have nothing to wait for, because standing still and waiting for the solution to the relations between Kosovo and Serbia, is precisely a call for tensions, for destabilization, for huge problems, not just between us, but also in the whole region.

We have no time to waste, neither us, nor has Serbia. We have to achieve the Agreement on the full normalization of relations within the coming months.

I will tell you in complete sincerity: Kosovo as a state, politically, and as a society, is tired from the delays in the process of its internal and international consolidation.

Whether due to the fact that Serbia interferes in the affairs of the state of Kosovo; whether due to the fact that EU did not manage to establish the consensus for the recognition of the state of Kosovo; or whether due to the fact that some have believed that as the time passes, by itself, things in Kosovo and around Kosovo will sort themselves out. It turns out that this was a totally wrong opinion.

I want to speak plainly on how I see the final state of the dialogue between us and the Serbian authorities.

Initially, as I stated on previous occasion as well, we in Kosovo aim a permanent Agreement with Serbia, not another transitory agreement which only prolongs issues for few more years.

Secondly, for us, the full normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia implies the formal mutual recognition between the state of Kosovo and the state of Serbia.

Thirdly, we aim, justly so, through this Agreement and the formal recognition between Kosovo and Serbia, to open the opportunity to become a UN, OSCE, NATO member state, and to be offered the genuine perspective of the EU membership.

Fourthly, mutual recognition between the two states can be followed by a process agreed by the two states, on the correction of the border between Kosovo and Serbia.

I want to be very clear again: this process would mean the end of an over one century long conflict between Kosovo and Serbia, and not the beginning of a new one.

Time of the wars and conflicts between Kosovo and Serbia - in my opinion - has passed.

But the end of this era would be acknowledged only when we achieve the grand political Agreement between us and Belgrade.

Five, such an Agreement between us and Serbia, and I say this again with utmost responsibility, will be a contribution to the peace and stability in this part of the Balkans. We have excellent neighbourly relations with Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania. This is how it will always be among us. And, naturally, we aim to have very good relations with Serbia as well, in the near future.

Six, if we do achieve the Agreement aiming the full normalization of relations with Serbia, it will not have any negative consequences to the multi-ethnic character of the Kosovar society and the catalogue of rights of the minority communities as guaranteed by the constitution and the laws in force.

Seven, I personally, as the President of Kosovo, and I am certain that the rest of the institutions of Kosovo, will remain the guarantors or the protection of the Serbian religious and cultural heritage in Kosovo, especially of those related to the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo.

And eight, as in the past, we shall be moving ahead in full coordination with you, with our international partners and supporters.

I am aware that achieving this agreement will be very tough. There are fierce opponents to this agreement both here in Kosovo and in Serbia. I know that this process carries in itself many risks and many unknowns. But there is no greater risk for us in Kosovo than to continue to remain in a limbo, as a state and as a society.

Thank you very much for your attention.