President Sejdiu returns from the visit to New York

The President of Republic of Kosovo Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu returned from the weeklong visit to New York, where he has met dozens state leaders that have stayed at the United States to participate in the proceedings of the United Nations General Assembly.

Upon his return, he held a press conference and the Prishtina Airport. Below you may read the transcript of the press conference:

I have just returned from an important visit to the United States of America, namely to New York, where, accompanied by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I have held multiple meetings with delegations from different countries of the world, especially from the African continent, Latin America and Asian and European countries.

I believe you have received comprehensive information about each meeting that we have had, as the information has been forwarded to you in the most transparent manner possible.

At these meetings, the Kosovo Delegation has focused mainly on discussing the urgency of the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo. We have presented sufficient arguments and we have received assurances that positive steps will be made. These steps may follow, but it is, certainly, up to each sovereign state to choose the moment to do that. I don’t want to predict when will that happen, but I believe you have noticed their mood in what has been presented by the media as well.

During this period, we have had a very friendly meeting with the US Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Steinberg, and with the US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Euroasian Affairs. During the conversation, we received assurances of United States’ strong commitment to Kosovo. The United States will remain committed, as in the past, to supporting us in all the positive processes towards our future and in our efforts to strengthen the democracy and improve the welfare of our people, regardless of their ethnicity. We also discussed aspects of United States direct involvement in the potential talks that relate to the new United Nations resolution on Kosovo.

As you know, the resolution was adopted by consensus. We have expressed our position and we will continue to adopt a common approach with the EU member countries, involving, of course, the strong and irreplaceable supportive role of the United States.

We have constantly affirmed that institutions of Kosovo are ready to discuss all issues of interest to the people of our sovereign country and to the people of any other country, but always on an equal footing. These are the principles that we have adhered to and that were a part of all the discussions that we have had. You are also aware of contacts that we have developed before the adoption of the resolution co-sponsored by the European Union and Serbia. Serbia was compelled to give up on the first draft of the resolution, as it was a project that aimed something else completely. In fact, the current resolution acknowledges Kosovo as a new reality. The same applies to other countries that, in a way or another, have hesitated about or challenged the recognition of the independence of Kosovo.

These issues have constituted the main point of our focus. I have also had the honor of holding a lecture on the progress that Kosovo has made and is making and on the vision of Kosovo in the most prestigious university in the world in Harvard. The former US Deputy Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is also currently engaged as a professor in this university, was a facilitator. I am grateful for the opportunity that was given to me and for the lively debate that I have had with people and students from different parts of the world who have enrolled in this internationally renowned university. I could notice that they were much interested in and deeply focused on the Kosovo issue.

Kosovo will also serve as a particular case study in international diplomacy and relations, in evaluating historic developments up to date and in reflecting upon positive developments in our country. I have also presented these issues as a part of our vision during the meetings that we have had with delegations from different countries.

As you know, in the end, we also had a meeting with the President of Iraq, Mr. Jalal Talabani, who wished me, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs a warm welcome. Of course, the time to come will bring good news and a decision on their part.

Question: Mr. President, how will you respond to the decision rendered by the Constitutional Court, which has found that you have gravely breached the Constitution by holding two positions? Will you resign or what will you do?

President Sejdiu:
I have received information, but I have made no decision. Of course, I will give you with a direct answer about the decision and its reasoning once I have studied it. I know the Constitutional Court has issued a press release that presents the finding as you mentioned. However, I believe it is very important for the public to know that the relevant article contained in the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo has been respected, including its entire contents or other provisions.

The failure to perform the function and the performance of a function is a constitutional matter. I have been one of those who were closely involved in drafting the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and I believe the judges of the Constitutional Court where there as well, and they know what the idea was. They know this is not an identical example with the constitutional provisions of other countries, because, initially, the article has provided that a person that is elected as President shall resign from a political party or political functions, and that article was deleted. The current article was drafted in cooperation with important international and local stakeholders. It remains at the discretion of the people who have adjudicated the way they have to think about this.

I do not want to blame them. It is a matter of the manner of study on their part, but I want to mention something else as well: the people that have presented the case of the President of Kosovo were not given the chance to be heard. It was a rush of its kind, but I do not want to accuse them. It was the urgency of the matter, perhaps, that has made them issue the release the way they have. I have also appreciated the news that I have received from newspapers and certain information media, besides those that I have received from my representatives or directly and there is nothing else for me to say. Let us see. I am a man that respects institutions. I will respect their decisions. I will make sure to give the best possible answer as President. I am aware of the work that I have done and I have done that for the best of our country and during the major and most sensitive processes that we have undergone so far.

Question: Will you resign, since you have said that you will respect the decision of the Constitutional Court?

President Sejdiu:
The Constitutional Court has given an opinion of its own. Constitutional Court does not decide what the President must do.

Question: By when will you take the decision?
President Sejdiu:
I will wait for the decision of the Court and then I will decide. Neither me, nor my office have received the court decision.