President Thaçi’s speech on the official visit to Kukës

Honorable Mayor of Kukës, Mr. Bashkim Shehu,
Honorable Ambassador Minxhozi,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very honored to be in your midst today, on a one-day visit in the beginning of November, the month marking the 105th anniversary of Albania’s Independence.

I am privileged to address the citizens of Kukës in a speech on behalf of the Presidency of the Republic of Kosovo, on my behalf and on behalf of the citizens of Kosovo.

I am here to express the GREAT GRATITUDE to all the citizens of Kukës and of Albania, who with incomparable generosity and nobleness sheltered about 500 thousand brothers and sisters from Kosovo, displaced violently during the war years 1998, 1999.

In the most critical period of the Kosovo Albanians, in the late twentieth century, the new Kukës, the small Kukës in appearance became the big Kukës, open, loving and deeply generous and noble.

After a long history of struggle for freedom, Kosovo had finally established the most important political and military organization, the Kosovo Liberation Army, the most successful guerrilla of the century which went to fulfill the ideal and the dream of freedom.

For the first time, Kosovo achieved to be an actor in the international arena at the Rambouillet Conference.

For the first time Kosovo had on its side strong international friends, the world of democratic values.

It was precisely this political advancement of Kosovo that managed to produce the international document by which the democratic world engaged the most powerful alliance of the globe, NATO, to intervene militarily over Serbian military and police targets.

The fair war of the Kosovo Liberation Army and NATO’s successes made the anti-Albanian politics of Belgrade even wilder, which began ethnic cleansing through murders, prosecutions, deportations and genocide.

The unarmed population, women, men, elderly and children were forced to leave their homes toward Macedonia and Albania.

Thanks to the solidarity, love and pure patriotic feeling, the deported Kosovars, in Kukës, found the warmth of the Albanian hearth and patiently waited for the end of the war.

The miracle happened.

As the great writer Ismail Kadare stated: the hand of the farmer haven’t cooled yet from the plug, the moment of the return to Kosovo came.

History has not witnessed a more fleeting return of people to their homes than that of the Kosovo Albanians, just after the end of the war on June 11, 1999


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The inhabitants of Kukës and those of Lumë in general are a common part of Kosovo’s history.

They experienced what their compatriots experienced during the turbulent years of the Balkan Wars and during World War I

They experienced the terror of the Serbian armies.

They made resistance against Serbian military troops aiming the occupation of Albania.

Kukës and Prizren had the political, historical and geographical fate of unrighteous state border division for a century.
 
This division was deep and big throughout the era of communism.

But in this division and isolation there was found a form of communication between Kosovo and Albania.

It was Radio Kukësi, a radio station that, despite ideological influence, performed a mission for which we, Kosovo, have a high appreciation.

Thousands of programs with historical and patriotic content were broadcasted on the waves of Radio Kukësi.

Through the waves of Radio Kukësi, the feeling of love for Albania and the historical figures of our national Renaissance grew and was cultivated.
 
Kosovo’s forbidden history was broadcasted on Radio Kukësi.

And especially the 1981 demonstration support, with the request for the Republic of Kosovo, had great echo everywhere in Kosovo.

Allow me to express my special gratitude today for this contribution of Radio Kukësi, which was the voice of Albania.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

During 1998-1999, Kukës became the basis of the KLA.
 
The city of Kukës experienced the shelling of the Serbian army.
 
Many people of Kukës joined the Kosovo Liberation Army, just like the ones of Hasi and Tropoja.

Glory to all those who contributed to the war of the Kosovo Liberation Army!


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, the history of relations between Kosovo and Albania has radically changed for the better.

Never in history, our political, economic, cultural relations and those of all areas of life, have been better than today.

Democratic Albania is a NATO member state.

The free and independent Kosovo is on the secure road towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

Despite being a nation in two states, we have no alternative but Euro-Atlantic integration.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Once again I express my gladness that I am in your midst, in the uttermost city of northern Albania, in the first city when Kosovo enters into Albania

In the Kukës of the legendary hospitality.

In the city that unites the eternal flows of the two rivers that traverse a large part of the Albanian territories: the White Drin and the Black Drin.

Thank you!