The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Madam Atifete Jahjaga, met today in Prishtina with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, Mr. Sebastian Kurz, with whom she discussed, for a few moments, about the current developments in Kosovo, about the country’s integration processes, about the cultivation of inter-religious tolerance in Kosovo and about the international coordination in addressing extremist threats. Both interlocutors emphasized the necessity of expanding cooperation between the two countries in all fields, especially in the field of economic development.
President Jahjaga, accompanied by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Skender Hyseni and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Petrit Selimi, together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, Mr. Sebastian Kurz, in the Cathedral “Mother Teresa” in Prishtina met with the Bishop of the Diocese of Kosovo, Bishop Dodë Gjergji, with the President of the Islamic Community of Kosovo, Mufti Naim Tërnava, and with the Bishop of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren, Teodosije.
In conversation with the religious leaders it was noted that value of the society of Kosovo, as a secular state, is the continued cultivation of interreligious tolerance and the coexistence between different religions.
President Jahjaga and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, Kurz, attended the official opening of the exhibition of the Austrian artist Leopold Forstner, in the Cathedral “Mother Teresa” in Prishtina, where they both held their speeches.
Below we are publishing the full speech of President Jahjaga:
Distinguished representatives of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo,
Dear Minister Kurz,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a distinct pleasure to welcome to Kosovo on his visit to our country the Austrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Sebastian Kurz, and for us all to meet here to celebrate in unity the values that we have forever cherished in this part of the world.
Tonight, we celebrate the long and historic friendship between Austria and Kosovo that precedes the concept of nation state through the eyes of an artist who under somewhat unfortunate circumstances of war was inspired to distinctively portray the dynamic and colorful lives of our predecessors in these territories about 100 years ago.
This journey in time through which Leopold Forstner takes us, makes us pause when met with the breathtaking imagery that sheds light into these magical lands, telling a fraction of a story that we know so well: of the depth of tradition treasured in this region, of our longing and strive to take our rightful place in Europe.
Not so long ago, I was asked by an interesting interlocutor to explain what the concept of Europe meant to us in Kosovo. “We understand that your future is in Europe, but which Europe?” he asked.
Tonight, I shall try to do justice to this question. The Europe we want to belong to is the Europe of values and unity, the Europe of diversity and of multiculturalism, the Europe of prosperity. It is the Europe that presented hope for millions of people behind the Iron Curtain – where to even dream was not allowed – and to millions more that are willing to forego their deep-seated hatreds and tragic fates to unite – not because of blood and soil, but because of the ideas that have come to define our time.
This idea is so powerful – it holds in it the power to transform societies for the better.
Our quest to join Europe is really an embrace of what we have held dear for so long but were often denied, and that is the right to embrace multiple layers of our identities and find unity in our differences.
In this, we shall be an add value to Europe.