Sejdiu: Kosovo has chosen progress instead of confrontation

“I believe Belgrade must play a different role from the one that it has played so far. The future of all the countries of the region is in the European Union and NATO and it should consist in good interstate relations. We must not provoke fire and produce tensions, because they undermine peace and stability” – the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu said during a press conference today. Below you may read the entire transcript of the conference:

Q: Mr. President, there were again tensions in Mitrovica. Albanians were forced to stop the work that they had resumed today on reconstructing their houses. What would be your message to the Serbs who are obstructing the reconstruction of Albanian houses?

President Sejdiu: Our message is to build Kosovo rather than obstruct its building. The message and the request that we would address to all the people of Kosovo is to provide their contribution to building our country, democracy, mutual life and new development perspectives. We always treat our citizens as equal and we will continue to do so. But, those who want to contravene the law and to close the perspectives of development to an individual, above all, or to a certain community, are wrong, and I believe that, first, sooner or later they will face their own civil and human conscience, and second, the state will take measures against them.

We all know that some of these wrongdoings are orchestrated by other people and by Belgrade. I believe Belgrade must play a different role from the one that it has played so far. The future of all the countries of the region is in the European Union and NATO and it should involve good interstate relations. We must not provoke fire or produce tensions, because they undermine peace and stability. On the other hand, we have chosen to embark on a journey by paying a special attention to minority communities, but this is a journey of progress, not confrontations. At the end of the day, Kosovo can never forget the tragedies that it has experienced, but we have made a promise for the new century and millennium and this is to contribute to peace, for we have never been against peace; on the contrary, we have always contributed to it.

Those who have committed crimes against humanity know where they belong and the International Tribunal will keep up its work.

Question: As a sign of protest against the agreement between UNMIK, EULEX and Serbia, “Vetëvendosja” Movement has demolished a considerable number of EULEX vehicles. What’s your comment on this?

President Sejdiu: I would rather not comment on approaches that, in a way or another, constitute abnormal reactions. Everyone has the right to express his opinion. For us, it is important that country’s institutions have their say and their stance is more than clear. We shall maintain a close cooperation with EULEX, which is a mission that serves the interests of Kosovo and all its citizens. Cooperation also involves mutual painstaking efforts aimed at implementing our joint project of ensuring an overall development in Kosovo. Therefore, our main call is to counter anything that brings about tensions or similar situations.

Question: Have you called on EULEX to give up on the protocol with Serbia?

President Sejdiu: We have had discussions with EULEX-in and we are maintaining the best cooperation in this regard. We have rejected the document and the approach it entails and we have already informed you about this.

Question: Is there a room for compromise?
President Sejdiu: There is always a room for constructive engagements!

Question: It has been speculated that EULEX has no choice but to enter such an agreement, because Kosovo’s institutions have failed to achieve positive results in the fight against crime?

President Sejdiu: I never deal with speculations and you already said very clearly that these are speculations. Kosovo’s institutions will do their duty. EULEX is here to assist Kosovo in two fields in particular: the rule of law and security. I call on EULEX, as I did in the letter that I have extended to it at the beginning, to be a good partner and I am confident that EULEX is a good partner in these endeavors.

Question: To what an extent can the critical reports on the judiciary and police be speculations?

President Sejdiu: Everything that is provided in terms of arguments should be taken into consideration. There is a Latin saying that even Gods keep quite when they face arguments.

It is important for us to create positive realities and to move forward and never look at Kosovo from the perspective of the ‘glass half empty’ metaphor.

We do face real problems that are known. I would rather not dwell on parts of history, especially the later history, and speak about what Kosovo has inherited from 1999 and thereon, but I would only say that it is important for us to engage in a new development, which is not an easy undertaking, however.

Question: Do you fear that the dissatisfaction of the people with EULEX-Serbia protocol may go beyond the dimensions of a peaceful protest?

President Sejdiu: No. The citizens trust their institutions. The institutions have made their stance clear. We will maintain our cooperation in order to ensure new results, including interstate communications. Like any other country, Kosovo needs to communicate with its neighboring countries in order to fight organized crime. Accordingly, in terms of cooperation with Serbia, EULEX has some clear objectives, because it is in a better position to communicate, but EULEX can also be an absolute partner in signing any agreement on behalf of Kosovo.

It is important for us to cooperate and to find best ways for improving the cooperation further. We have always said that we are in favor of any cooperation in dealing with issues of common interest, including Serbia.