At the beginning of the year reception, President Jahjaga held an informal discussion with the journalists of various media from Kosovo
The transcript of the discussion is presented below:
I would like to wish you a warm welcome, and express my respect for your profession and my gratitude for your work and cooperation that we had last year, and at the same time ensure you that our cooperation this year will be at least as good and that the doors to the office of the Presidency will always remain open to you, as we are jointly accomplishing a mission in service to the people and to the advancement of the democratic processes.
The role of the media is essential in presentation of the truth, correct and timely information of the citizens, setting of a critical public opinion as a realistic evaluation as well as a type of control of the work of the institutions.
Republic of Kosovo and its citizens have achieved a considerable number of successes last year. We have continued to consolidate our statehood, achieving one of the biggest achievements-ending of the supervision of the independence, in September of last year.
We have improved our world image, thus becoming, as any other country, a state that contributes in all regional and international processes.
In this respect, Kosovo played host and organised the Women’s International Summit that brought together around 200 women from our country, the region and the world.
During the 2012, we have increased the number of recognitions and have made advances in European integration processes; we have received the Visa liberalisation roadmap and are very close to the signing of the Stabilisation-Association Agreement. I would also like to emphasize the fact that last year Kosovo also became a member of the European Bank for Development and Reconstruction.
Kosovo also undertook active diplomacy, State Secretary Clinton, Baroness Ashton and UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon, all visited Kosovo last year, as well as British Foreign Secretary Hague, Assistant Secretary Gordon, Deputy Assistant Secretary Riker, EU Enlargement Commissioner Füle, delegations of US Congress and State Department and of the European Parliament. We also participated at many forums and international conferences and bilateral meetings, both in Kosovo and abroad.
We have passed through many challenges, and we will be facing new ones in 2013. Kosovo’s challenges do not differ much from those faced by other countries in transition. It is the continuation of the constitutional and electoral reform, continuous reforms of the education and health care systems, building of the social policies that will improve the wellbeing of our citizens. Another challenge is the conformity of Kosovo’s legislation with the EU legislation as well as fulfilment of long and short term objectives that stem from the European Commission’s Feasibility Study.
We aim to increase the economic development, enable the opening of new work places and create a favourable environment for foreign investments. We are endeavouring to accomplish the criteria and standards of the EU that will allow for visa liberalisation and Stabilisation –Association Agreement with EU.
Another aim of ours is the successful completion of the dialogue between the Republic of Kosovo and Republic of Serbia, for the normalisation of relations between our two states, as two neighbouring states, establishment of rule of law and order on the whole territory of the Republic of Kosovo, specifically in the three northern municipalities of the Republic of Kosovo, the municipalities of Northern Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic, in order to create oportunities for the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo of Serbian ethnicity, live normally in these parts of the Republic of Kosovo, to hold honest, democratic and fair municipal elections and be able to elect their legal and legitimate representatives and to establish institutions of Kosovo in this part of its territory.
Question: the ensuing meeting in Brussels between the two prime Ministers is on January 17th. It has already been confirmed by Prime Minister Thaçi that the North will be a subject that will be discussed. Do you believe that a part of the territory should be part of the discussion?
Answer: Dialogue that is being held in Brussels with the mediation of EU and with a strong backing and support of the USA, aims for normalisation of relations between our two states, as two neighbouring states, as that this process is being led by the Prime Minister of Kosovo, respectively by Prime Ministers of both countries.
As the President of the country, since the very beginning I have given my strong support to this dialogue process, because I do not see any other alternative by means of which we could force or obligate Serbia to fulfil all its obligations towards Kosovo and international standards and norms.
The issues of internal organisation are not part of the dialogue process, as this is an issue of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, it is an issue of the laws of the Republic of Kosovo, issue of the citizens, and there is no such thing as northern issue, but is an issue related to three municipalities in the north of the territory of the Republic of Kosovo, where rule of law and order must be established and where disbanding or abolishment of all structures incited or financed by the neighbouring country of Serbia must take place. Conditions must be created that citizens of Republic of Kosovo of Serbian ethnicity, who live in these parts, are able to elect their legal and legitimate representatives. All solutions, that stem from the dialogue process are European solutions and are in full agreement of all parties.
Question : Madam President, you touched briefly on the Constitutional and Electoral reform, while at the same time the largest opposition party in the land is asking for your resignation or for written guarantees from you that you will step down as soon as the Constitutional and Electoral reforms are completed. What is your response to DLK’s request for you to step down from your Presidential post, in accordance with, as they say, the agreement of April 2011?
Answer: Electoral and Constitutional reform, as I mentioned earlier, is a necessity and is an obligation upon the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo and is as well a precondition for the advancement of the integrational process towards our membership in European Union. It is an issue of the political parties to lead and advance the process of the Constitutional and Electoral reform, as foreseen by the agreement. Resignation is not a part of the agreement and resignation is not a category foreseen by the Constitution. We must begin to establish a practice and an institutional culture that will enable us to work towards a regular transition of duties from the actual president to the president elect. Resignation of the President does not necessarily mean the solution to the crisis; on the contrary, it creates and deepens the crisis in our country. As the president of the country, I have expressed my readiness to a regular transfer of the Presidential post to the elected President. Our state must once and for all establish a system of institutional culture.
Question: Madam President, you mentioned the challenges awaiting us in 2013, some being transferred from 2012. How will our institutions deal with them, seeing that, by international evaluations, they have not been doing their homework properly related to the EU integration?
Answer: Kosovo is a country in transition, as are other countries in the region. Kosovo’s agenda is clear, towards its membership in European Union, because as for Kosovo, as well as for the rest of the countries of the region, there is no other alternative but EU membership. Kosovo is in a more favourable position compared to some other countries of the region, due to the fact that EU presence in Kosovo was more predominant from the very beginning; advancement of all processes and fulfilment of all criteria and reforms is a continuous process for our country. You have heard me more than once say that accomplishment of reforms is not an issue we must undertake because of EU or our integrational journey. Reforms are for the wellbeing of the citizens of Kosovo and are directed towards the improvement of the wellbeing of our citizens; we are very dedicated to this path.
Question: Madam President, do you think that you have pulled back from the position of the institutions of Kosovo to talk about the north of Kosovo and for three municipalities, and I am reminding you on a number of statements by yourself and the Prime Minister that you will discuss the normalisation and the establishment of the rule of law solely with the residents of those parts or their representatives. Have you pulled back from this position?
Answer: Not at all, this was my previous answer as well.
Question: Why are you then discussing this with the Serbian side?
Answer: For the issues of internal organisations we do not hold discussions with anybody, but dialogue must continue towards the abolishment of the structures that operate and are incited and financed by our neighbouring country, Serbia.
Question: Do you believe that this is acceptable for the Serbian side?
Answer: Let’s see.