President Thaçi's speech at the Adriatic Charter Summit 'US-Adriatic Charter' (A5)

Honorable Vice President Pence
Honorable Prime Minister Markovic and Prime-Minister Zaev,
Honorable Prime-Ministers
Dear participants,
Ladies and Gentleman

When the Adriatic Charter was established, in 2003, our region had just come out of a terrible cycle of wars and crises.

Although finally at peace, we soon realized that peace is not self-sufficient, but only a precondition for creation of other values.

Values of cooperation, progress and integration.

Many would have found it impossible to believe that 14 years after, the idea of the Adriatic Charter would have developed and grown with new members, becoming this wonderful family of nations, that share the same goal, and same values, the ones of euro Atlantic integration.

Allow me to express my gratitude to our hosts today, especially the Prime Minister of Montenegro.

Montenegro’s membership into NATO was the best news our region received in a long time.

Honorable Mr. Vice President,

Prime Ministers,

I am honored to sit in this table, as the President of the most pro American and pro NATO nation on earth.

Since NATO intervention, USA and NATO soldiers helped keep peace in Kosovo, and helped us move forward.

But now, 18 years since the end of the war, and almost a decadesince independence, we believe that the time has come for Kosovo to give back.

Kosovo is ready to become contributor of the regional and international security.

We no longer want to be only observers in important forums like this one.

We deserve to be a member. A full- fledged member.

The same way we want to be members of NATO.

It is not enough for NATO to be in Kosovo.

We need Kosovo in NATO.

We understand that in order to get there, Kosovo needs finish the transition of Kosovo Security Forces and to establish a multiethnic army. And I promise this is our goal.

We will do this in full coordination with NATO and with our partners.

This force will be a multiethnic, professional, defensive force that would proudly represent all its people.

And that would be ready to stand side by side USA solders and NATO solders wherever needed.

Honorable Mr. Vice President,

Your visit here couldn’t be more timely.

It is a recognition of our achievements.

But let me also emphasize that there are still unfinished businesses in our region.

There are still forces that try to disrupt and to delay our Euro-Atlantic orientation.

But I have no doubt, that just as you showed leadership in 2003, when you helped establish Adriatic charter, you will continue to show leadership in the years to come.

We need you, our region needs you, Europe needs you.

Europe cannot afford black holes.

And Brussels should not delay further reaching to the region.

This delay is creating a vacuum.

And anti-western ideologies and influences, be it Russian influence or fundamental Islamism, are rushing to fill this vacuum.

Mr. Vice President, future is the most important feature of theidentity.

What you want to become sometimes is often more important than what you are.

And while we are not still members of NATO, Kosovo and the rest of the region sees their future there.

As a region that once was defined by conflict and bloody wars, we have learned the hard way that dialogue is the only wayforward.

And today, seating here as equals, despite the differences, we have much more in common.

Kosovo has its important role to play for peace and stability in the region.

Dialogue with Serbia is an important part of this process.

I can reassure you all, that Kosovo remains committed and is willing to accelerate this process in order to reach a final agreement on normalization of relations and reconciliation with Serbia.

Not only because we owe it to all of you, but most importantly, because we owe it to our children.

Our children should not grow up in fear of each other.

We are neighbors and for the rest of our lives we will be living next to each other.

Geography we won’t be able to change.

But future we will change.

As our shared saint Mother Teresa said “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things. “

Thank you for your attention.