President Thaçi on the Birthday of Freedom: Kosovo is our pride and glory

Prishtina, June 12, 2019 – The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, at the central manifestation for the marking of the 20th Anniversary of the NATO troops deployment, has congratulated all citizens on June 12, the birthday of Kosovo’s freedom.

“The 12th of June is the foundation of our identity as citizens, as a people, as Kosovo, as an inseparable part of Europe and the West”, said President Thaçi.

The Head of State has said that what he did in the spring of ‘99, the Civilized World, personified in the USA, the European Union, the North Atlantic Alliance, has been a great and extraordinary step.

“We are proud that today we are the most pro-American, most pro-Western and pro-European people in this part of the world”, he said, stressing that Kosovo’s freedom is a common value of all of us here.

This is President Thaçi’s full speech:

First of all, I want to congratulate the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, because June 12, 1999, is the birthday of Kosovo’s freedom.

Each of us living in Kosovo, but also many others who live anywhere in the world, have a day when we were born as people.

But the 12th of June is a date that unites us all as citizens of Kosovo.

On this day we were all reborn as free citizens of this free country.

The 12th of June is the foundation of our identity as citizens, as a people, as Kosovo, as an inseparable part of Europe and the West.

We will never forget this, we will respect it forever.

Like we are together today, Kosovars, Americans, Brits, Germans, Frenchmen, Italians, and from many other countries on this beautiful June day in the capital of Kosovo, in Pristina, we were also together in the heaviest, the darkest and the most tragic period in Kosovo’s new history:

-  then, when the survival of a people was endangered,

-  then, when the citizens of Kosovo were able to sacrifice everything for freedom and to become the master of their own destiny.

What the Civilized World, personified in the USA, the European Union, the North Atlantic Alliance, did in the spring of ’99, has been a great and extraordinary step.

It was a decisive step to save a whole nation, to enable evil to suffer defeat and to offer us all the historical opportunity to build a future for us and for the future generations.

As long as there is life and there are people in these parts, as long as there is a Kosovo on this earth, we will be grateful for your humane and civic stance and decision of the spring of ‘99.

It was a fair and honest stance and decision

Today, as well, as President of Kosovo, I once again say to you, with the greatest sincerity and reverence: Thank you!

Even after the end of the war and the ensuring of peace by 50,000 troops of the North Atlantic Alliance, the Civic World was together with us

It was together with us to fundamentally change our country, in all possible aspects.

To build a new Kosovo, in all dimensions.

Kosovo became the newest liberal democracy in Europe.

We successfully held the first free elections, both at the local government level and at the central government level.

We learned to respect the rights of all minorities and to protect human rights.

We created a free market economy.

We enabled foreign investments.

We got stabilized as a society.

We made the first steps towards the Euro-Atlantic integration process.

And finally, in respect of the will of the people of Kosovo to make their country, with the readiness to find the best solutions for the accommodating all the needs of the Serb community and other communities in Kosovo, we declared the Independence of Kosovo, on February 17, 2008.

Kosovo’s freedom is a common value of us all here.

Every politician of Kosovo, each one of its citizens, has not the slightest doubt about what we are as a people or what our supreme identity is.

We are Europeans and want to become a member state of the European Union.

We are Western and want to become a member state of the NATO Pact.

We are proud that today we are the most pro-American, the most pro-Western and pro-European people in this part of the world.

But we are convinced that together we must and can move faster towards Kosovo’s integration into the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union

We deserve it.

As we have deserved to be free.

As we have deserved to become a state.

On the other hand, we know that the narrative about us as Kosovo, as a state, cannot be rounded up completely without raising Kosovo’s flag in East River, at the UN headquarters.

Without ensuring the recognition of the five UN member states as well.

Like we have been ready many years ago to make the historical agreement with Serbia, we are likewise willing today to discuss with Serbia in order to make the Comprehensive Agreement for the normalization of relations between the two states.

We, up to this day live with the burden of a heavy and tragic history which has occurred in Kosovo.

We cannot forget the genocide and the ethnic cleansing!

We owe this remembrance and the endless respect to all those who suffered and sacrificed for the freedom of Kosovo.

But, on the other hand, we owe to our children and the coming generations to make an agreement with Serbia.

To live as a state in peace and in good neighborliness with all.

To ensure the welfare of all citizens of Kosovo.

To become a member state of the UN and all other international organizations.

And finally, to raise the flag of Kosovo in both NATO and the EU.

No one can stop us!

Kosovo is our glory, it is our pride, it is our destiny.

Once again congratulation on the Freedom Day of Kosovo.

Thank you for your attention!