The President: Preservation of Status Quo with Serbia, a wrong and unsustainable option

Prishtina, February 20th 2019 – President of the country, Hashim Thaçi, attended the “Voice of the People on the “Grand Finale”” conference, organised by the Research Institute of Development and European Affairs (RIDEA).

President Thaçi said that for over a year we are discussing the most important process of ours as a state, on which a large part of the long term sustainability of the Republic of Kosovo, its membership in UN, NATO and European Union depends.

“We all know that the dialogue with Serbia on normalisation of relations between the two countries is unavoidable and necessary. We would like to once and for all, clarify our rapport as a state with the state of Serbia, which can only be achieved through a dialogue which has clear objectives, but also the international support, fore mostly of the US and EU,” said President Thaçi.

The head of state potentiated that twenty years have passed since the end of the war and Kosovo and Serbia have not yet achieved a proper agreement which would make peace, cooperation and good neighbourliness, secure and permanent values of these relations.

“For over a century we have had animosities in relations Kosovo-Serbia. But, I know firmly believe in this, it is time to leave the animosity which has produced continuous tragedies behind  and to achieve the Comprehensive Agreement on normalisation of relations between the two states,” said President Thaçi, while basing his conclusion on three arguments.

Initially, President Thaçi said that the option for preservation of the status quo in relations between Kosovo and Serbia, which was supported and continues to be backed by some, is wrong and unsustainable.

“I think that the status quo does not only represent a standstill, but it actually is a step back. In the last twelve months there is deterioration and regress in relations between Kosovo and Serbia. I have no doubt that if this year we do not achieve a legally binding agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, we shall be entering a danger zone of these relations, which could destabilize the whole region. Thus, last years’ experience has strengthened my belief that the time is nigh to achieve this historic agreement between the two countries,” said President Thaçi.

Secondly, according to the President, last year we were all asking for the USA to have, in a most direct manner possible, a decisive role in this dialogue and in the achievement of the Comprehensive Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.

“The letter which I received last December from President Trump is a direct confirmation of the historic and political determination of the USA to help the two countries in the achievement of the legally binding agreement,” said the President.

Thirdly, President Thaçi said that all of us, in Kosovo’s colourful political scene, have a unified in the position of what the name and the surname of the agreement on normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia should be.

“Explicit mutual recognition between the two states is the key which opens the doors of this agreement and ends the centuries long animosities, And exactly these days, in the letters of President Trump and State Secretary Pompeo, sent to Kosovo’s leaders, we have obtained clearest and strongest possible guarantees from USA that thus historic agreement between Kosovo and Serbia means mutual recognition,” said President Thaçi.

This is a straight forward stance of the USA, said President Thaçi that was made clear at the letter sent by President Trump to the highest authorities in Belgrade.

“We could not have greater guarantees than these words and this dedication of the US administration. And in this statement, I am certain we are all unified on,” said the President.

While speaking on the formal explicit recognition between Republic of Kosovo and republic of Serbia, President Thaçi said that he would be the happiest person in Kosovo, if that would have been done without any additional dialoguing, without new and difficult talks in Brussels an without any mutual compromise.

“Kosovo’s recognition by Serbia without any talks and conditions, would be the fairest and the most direct conclusion for this dialogue, which has commenced 20 years from now at the Rambouillet conference. But in politics, justice rarely wins. And as we Kosovar Albanians know better than anyone else in these parts of Europe, the victory of justice requires a great sacrifice, an exceptional will and also particular international support, which we had during the war years and in the years of Kosovo’s independence, said President Thaçi.

At the end, President Thaçi, said that he knows that tough talks await us in Brussels with Serbia’s highest authorities, but we ate ready to turn our insistence on mutual recognition between the two states into a comprehensive agreement with Serbia.

“I have carefully read the public opinion research report prepared by RIDEA. My strongest impression is that, objectively, the opinion of the citizens of the dialogue, on the achievement of an agreement with Serbia, but also on the preferred options on how this agreement should be built, it corresponds closely to our main political evaluations” said the President.

According to President Thaçi, this is an encouragement to accomplish our obligation to the citizens of Kosovo and the state of Kosovo.