Michael Spindelegger: We will support Kosovo in ensuring further recognition

The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu, met today Mr. Michael Spindelegger, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

President Sejdiu thanked Mr. Spindelegger for the unsparing support that the Republic of Austria has provided to Kosovo in its road to freedom and independence, by establishing diplomatic relations with the Republic of Kosovo, by becoming a second country to many people of Kosovo during hard times, by providing great opportunities to Kosovo students to study in prestigious Austrian universities and by providing a crucial support to Kosovo’s recognition, including its further engagement in providing for good economic relations with Kosovo.

On the other hand, President Sejdiu acknowledged Austrian contingent’s role within KFOR and the engagement of all Austrian people during various international missions in Kosovo and Austria’s diplomatic mission in our country. President Sejdiu said that they were always a good partner and kept their doors of cooperation open to Kosovo.

On his part, having underlined the friendly relations between the Republic of Austria and Republic of Kosovo, the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Michael Spindelegger, said that Austria is one of the first countries that have recognized Kosovo as an independent state.

“Austria was one of the first countries that have recognized Kosovo as an independent state and we feel that we have special and friendly relations with your country, which entails our responsibility to support Kosovo in the future. We will maintain our engagement not only in terms of keeping our military presence in KFOR, but also in terms of providing our economic support. We will support Kosovo in ensuring further international recognition and its integration into EU. I assure you that Austria will remain on Kosovo’ side” – Minister Spindelegger affirmed.

With regard to visa liberalization, he said that this is an issue that affects many countries of the Western Balkan.

“I think we should be realistic. We want the perspective that we support to apply for Kosovo as well, but the road to this perspective requires many other steps. We can see some countries have advanced and others have lingered behind. For the first countries the visa liberalization process will start in the beginning of next year, but Kosovo has also given many good examples and that is why we want to help Kosovo move in this direction” – the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs said.

At a joint press conference, the President referred to the issue of 5 remaining EU countries that have not recognized the Republic of Kosovo yet.

“I’d like to thank all the EU countries that have recognized the Republic of Kosovo and which comprise the two thirds of the EU. Though there are 5 other EU countries that have not recognized Kosovo, arrangements are being made in terms of cooperation within the framework of joint EU policies for Kosovo. Some of them recognize Republic of Kosovo’s passports and have joined EULEX and KFOR troops. We call on them to speed up the procedures for recognizing our country. I consider that all EU countries that have recognized the Republic of Kosovo share an obligation to exert, as it were, a positive and constructive pressure upon other EU countries that have not done so and to explain them the reasons why they have recognized the Republic of Kosovo. Kosovo does not represent a precedent to any other country and somebody’s concerns that Kosovo may serve as such a model i.e. internal concerns that some countries may have regarding this, are really unreasonable. I do really consider that we should set our pace in bringing the cycle of recognition of Kosovo by EU countries to a close” – President Sejdiu said.

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