President Thaçi at the Southeast Europe Peace Summit: Peace in the region depends on the permanent peace between Kosovo and Serbia

Tirana, October 26, 2019- The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, participated today in the South East Europe Peace Summit 2019 in Tirana, organized by the Universal Peace Federation.

President Thaçi has said that the peace that was achieved with the intervention of the North Atlantic Alliance in the spring of 1999 was above all the result of a visionary US and European Union policy.

According to him, this vision ended once and for all the successive tragedies in these parts of the Balkans and Europe with the hope of turning that year’s peace, through the Stability Pact, into a new beginning for the whole region.

“The EU Thessaloniki Summit in 2003, following this major strategic move by Washington and Brussels, has also formally opened the European perspective chapter for all Western Balkan countries”, said the President.

The Head of State further added that Kosovo became an independent state in February 2008, adding that along with the first recognitions of Kosovo’s independence came the message of a European perspective for the newest state in the region and in Europe.

“What happened next, when it comes to transforming peace into a permanent state and long-term stabilization between the states and people of this part of Europe”, the President said that “None of us can boast, nor in the region, nor in Brussels, with the results of this joint Project”.

According to him, the peace of twenty years ago brought a great deal of enthusiasm to all of us, whether politicians or citizens of this part of Europe.

“I do not believe that there were politicians or citizens in Kosovo, or anywhere in this part of the Balkans, who could have guessed that twenty years later, this whole region would not become part of the EU”, he said, adding further that “Who would have believed that the relations between these states and people would not have followed the example of France and Germany in the first twenty years after the end of World War II”.

President Thaçi has said that no one could have imagined in the summer of 1999 that twenty years later, we still don’t have a political agreement with Serbia on mutual recognition, and the creation of conditions for good neighborliness.

“Great opportunities have been lost to reach this Agreement, and we have always been ready to extend our hand to the Agreement”, the President said.

According to him, the long-term peace of the Western Balkans largely depends on the permanent peace between Kosovo and Serbia - that is, from the Comprehensive Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia - which doesn’t have any other option than to end with the mutual recognition as two independent and sovereign states.

“However, this Agreement, as it is known, has that very important side of the EU’s political and economic impetus”, stressed President Thaçi.

The Head of State further added that we are aware of Brussels’ hesitancies, suspicions and setbacks towards the Western Balkan states.

“We, in Kosovo, are paying the heavy price of delaying the visa liberalization decision for the citizens of Kosovo, adding that “we have suffered injustice, just like Albania and Northern Macedonia”, he said.

President Thaçi has said that he is sure that all this, neither for us in Kosovo nor for our friends in Albania and Northern Macedonia, does not give rise to hesitancies, suspicions and setbacks about what to do, how we should act now and onwards in relation to the EU.

“We want to become EU member states as soon as possible, because we have no other political and historical destiny, and we do not want another political and historical destiny and future”, the President stressed, and that according to him, “Here I have to go back to my deep conviction that it would be best if all the Western Balkan states joined the EU together”.

He went on to say that in the meantime, they would have to resolve all the problems and disputes between them.

He said he is convinced that Kosovo’s political scene has a common will to resume talks with senior Serbian authorities as soon as possible, with the strong boost of the United States of America and the European Union for a Comprehensive Agreement.

“We have no time to lose. The international time and circumstances that can be predicted are not our allies. Dialogue has no alternative. It also accelerates the process of membership in the Euro-Atlantic family”, the President said.