President Jahjaga’s Press Conference prior to the commencement of the International Women’s Summit

President of the Republic of Kosovo, Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga spoke today to the media at a conference about the International Women’s Summit: “Partnership for Change-Empowerment of Women” which will be held in Prishtina, from October 4th to October 6th.

President Jahjaga said at the beginning of this conference that over 200 participants from Kosovo, our region, Europe, Middle-East, Asia and America will be attending the International Women’s Summit “Partnership for Change-Empowerment of Women”. Proportionally, around 100 will be participants from Kosovo and the rest from the region and the rest of the world.

Participants will be focusing mainly on the subjects related to the economic advancement of women, political representation of women and security of women as well as issues that are key to the advancement of the role that women play both in our society as well as in other societies.

The summit will be addressing all the factors that influence the advancement and strengthening of the role of women in society, economic empowerment, political representation and the role of women in decision-making processes as well as the property rights and the access that women have to resources.

Matters that relate to the role of women in fighting corruption and organised crime and women’s access to justice and security will also be discussed.

This summit is being organised by the financial support of USAID and the organisational support of NDI. Since the initial idea for the organisation of such a summit, we have received a strong support from the USA, the two above mentioned organisations and the US Embassy in Prishtina.

Summit will start its proceedings on October 4th, 2012, with the participation of the former US Secretary of State M. Albright and her address on the importance of women as crucial factor in the development of a state.

This summit aims to advance the gender issues in all aspects of life, beyond borders and ethnic, racial or religious differences.

Kosovo and Kosovo’s Capital, during the summit will become a world capital where progress and positive changes that have occurred in our country will be discussed as well as the reforms and mechanisms already created for the strengthening of the role of women. This summit will also identify and issue recommendations that are relevant to Kosovo, for the countries of the region and other countries of the world that face the same challenges as we do.

The International Women’s Summit, taking into consideration our experience so far, makes Kosovo an important factor, especially in the aspect of positive developments that have happened in our country. This is a first summit of its kind being organised in Kosovo and in this part of South-Eastern Europe, said at the end of her expose President Jahjaga.

Afterwards, President of the Republic Responded to the questions presented by journalist:

Question: You have just returned from the USA few days ago. What instructions did you receive there in relation to the beginning of a new dialogue with Serbia, knowing that for such a dialogue, a unified stance of the political spectrum in Kosovo is needed? According to the Constitution, you are a unifying factor; how much do you think you will be able to unify the positions of the political spectrum towards a process that Kosovo is heading into?

President Jahjaga: Yes, we’ve just returned from a trip to USA, a visit that had as a main aim our participation at the proceedings of the UN General Assembly. This Assembly gathers the leader from around the world and was a good opportunity to organise meetings. You know that Kosovo is not a UN member state, but with existing institutional and state mechanisms. With the strong support from our international friends, Kosovo had the opportunity to participate at the sessions of the General Assembly, to meet with delegations from various countries and attend the reception laid by US President Obama.

There were no instructions, and as we have previously stated the dialogue has already begun last year, which has yielded a series of agreements between the Republic of Kosovo and Republic of Serbia, with the facilitation of European Union.

Dialogue is not only the best way, but the only way for us, as two states, who had a past that was not an easy one, to build a future which will be in function of wellbeing of our citizens at the both sides of the border; that contributes to peace and stability in the region and good neighbourliness and to the European journey of both our countries. Kosovo has by now determined its positions and we will go through this process as an independent and sovereign state and the other state can choose the way for themselves.

As far as the unification aspect is concerned, you have seen that institutional and political unity has always prevailed in Kosovo for all the major issues that have occurred in our state. However, in one issue we are fully unified and there’s no opposition to this: the internal matters of Kosovo are our own internal issues and are not open to negotiation with any one or any other state.

Question: When the organisation of this conference was announced few days ago, the Presidency said that US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will be one of the participants. How come that this information was later denied by the Presidency and why no explanation was given on why was Secretary Clinton’s name played with?

President Jahjaga: You said that it was confirmed by the Presidency? Presidency was never the source of the information and no official confirmation was ever issued by the Presidency or any other institution of the Republic of Kosovo; I want to say that it follows on my discourse with Secretary Clinton last year, who supported my idea for the organisation of such a summit here in the Republic of Kosovo. It is through Secretary Clintons support that specialised organisational teams were sent to ensure the proper proceeding of the summit. Due to her agenda, Secretary Clinton has apologised for her inability to physically be in Kosovo at that time, but all the rest related to the summit was done in full cooperation with the USA and Secretary Clinton’s Office.

Question: A lot is being said lately about the historic normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia at a time when nationalists are in power in Serbia and at a time when Kosovo is undergoing a minor institutional crisis due to many investigations being undertaken against certain senior officials. Are the two neighbouring countries ready to enter this stage of the dialogue process, when difficult decisions need to be made, according to Baroness Ashton?

President Jahjaga: As I said earlier, dialogue is the only way to normalise relations between our two countries, as independent and sovereign countries who have not had an easy past and who are still to this day suffering the heavy consequences. The declarations of the nationalistic politicians that you are referring to are not being heard for the first time. This is a continuous rhetoric that we are used to listen to, however, Kosovo is clear on the position it stands on. Kosovo is a sovereign, independent state, with an internationally recognised territorial integrity, and such statements, whoever they might come from, are for an internal consumption and have no influence whatsoever on our state or the international community.

Question: Madam President, are you ready to lead the Kosovo team tasked to dialogue with Belgrade, to have a leading role? 

President Jahjaga: It is still undecided and I must say it is still too early to speculate on the constitution of the team, on who will be in it, on who can dialogue. But I have said it on other occasions that as a President of Republic of Kosovo I am ready to meet with any other homologue of mine, always in accordance with the stipulations of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and the laws of the Republic of Kosovo, as two equal states, in exactly the same manner as we dialogue with other states and homologues from other countries, when there are issues of interest for the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and for our State.

Question: Madam President, as Baroness Ashton said that both sides, Prishtina and Belgrade, must be prepared for tough talks and must take some difficult decisions; does this mean that the issue of the north will be initiated at these talks? Is the north going to be the painful part of this dialogue?

President Jahjaga:  I do not want to talk on behalf of Baroness Ashton, but what I can say is that there are certain red lines predetermined by the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and its institutions and that no internal matter of our state will be a subject of our discussions with any other state, even less with Serbia.