– During the conference proceedings, President Jahjaga met with Mr.Ban Ki Moon and the President of Switzerland, Michelin Calmy-Rey, who greeted her participation in this important international conference.
Rome, 1 June 2011 – The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Madam Atifete Jahjaga, who is on an official visit in the Republic of Italy, with the invitation of President Giorgio Napolitano, participated today at the international conference “La Citta Interetnica” (“Interethnic city”), which was held today in Rome.
The conference, which was led by the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, was also attended by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Michelin Calmy-Rey, the vice president of the Senate of Italy, Ema Bonino and other high officials.
During the conference proceedings, President Atifete Jahjaga met with Mr. Ban Ki Moon and the President of Switzerland, Michelin Calmy-Rey, who greeted her participation in this important international conference.
President Jahjaga held a speech, which was welcomed by all the attendees.
Below we bring you the full speech of President Jahjaga:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The world today is more integrated and unified than ever before. Technologic development and especially the communication, make it possible that we all are at the same time informed about every event and have individual and coordinated stance about it. People around the world more than ever, uphold to the same values and principles, placing them in a better position to make the difference between good and bad.
Today, in an unprecedented way, people raise their voices and confront policies of oppression and repression and demand equal opportunities, freedom and life in dignity. We feel all the problems of the globe as ours, while engaged in resolving them regardless where we are.
All of us here today share the same responsibility regardless if we represent states or global organizations, because as a part of global leadership we contribute in shaping the future of our world and the life of our citizens.
The Republic of Kosovo is the youngest state in Europe, a multiethnic country. The recognition of independence by 75 countries and membership in international organizations is a favor for multi-ethnicity at the national and local level. What Kosovo has achieved today comes from the will of its people and the support of the international community.
The Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo guarantees the highest individual and collective rights and freedoms, foreseeing a set of mechanisms which enable the protection of the vital interests for each ethnic community.
All communities in Kosovo have guaranteed seats in the Parliament and the Government. Participation in the governance of all ethnic groups and the representatives of all religions and the different cultures, represent the stand and views, which by being different, are incorporated into the Kosovo’s laws and are implemented helping everyone fulfill the needs and the individual and collective political aims.
The process of decentralization has created new municipalities where over a quarter of Kosovo’s municipalities are with the majority of ethnic minorities, with a strong self-government at the local level. This successful process has helped in integration of minorities within Kosovo’s institutions, while preserving their identity.
Ladies and Gentleman,
Kosovo’s history is painful and we do not want it to be repeated. We want to build a society in which everyone will feel itself at home and in which everyone will feel the responsibility for the achievements of their country.
Over centuries, people of different backgrounds have coexisted with one another, lived together, but have also in different periods of time confronted each other leaving consequences for all.
Conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, have caused pain and destruction. At the core of the conflict was the ethnocentric ideology, the goal of which was the creation of mono-ethnic state, where a single ethnic group would dominate over the others. We are satisfied that that ideology was defeated, by the unprecedented mobilization and the unified intervention of the international community.
My country and its citizens have suffered as well. But, we do not understand proposals and demands for new divisions of territory along exclusively ethnic lines, which essentially is a clash of the ideology of the past with European and international values of today. We all say no to that option. Together with the European Union we are working in strengthening democracy and European values in the Republic of Kosovo, for the well being of people and their prospects for a better and free life.
Ladies and Gentleman,
The process of reconciliation is at times slow and difficult, but everyone is aware that there is no other alternative and the lessons from the past should be remembered and not be repeated again.
Kosovo as a state, using the experiences of the others, has created a number of mechanisms and practices in order to advance the human rights and freedoms as well as the community rights, taking in consideration the language policies, cultivation of culture, protection of tradition and cultural-historic monuments. In the whole territory of Kosovo Albanian and Serbian language are official languages, while Turkish is in use as well at the local level. Today the communication among our youth is in English. This has created the new mentality and the old bilingualism of each other is replaced with the bilingualism of native language with the English one.
This affects people not to migrate from their environment but to exercise their rights and obligations.
In Kosovo, religious tolerance has coexisted for centuries. Religious objects were built side by side as people have lived together, respecting rites and traditions of each other. Today, we hope to see soon a dialogue between the religious leaders, which would deepen mutual understanding and tolerance, as a contribution to enrichment of Kosovo’s diversity.
In their path toward freedom, democracy, equal opportunity and a multiethnic state, the Republic of Kosovo and its citizens have had many friends who have supported them along the way. I avail myself of this opportunity to thank the United Nations, and the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, for helping in rebuilding my country, return of refugees, reconciliation and institution-building. This mission was serving also in confidence building of the citizens towards the institutions and among each other. Today, the UN monitors the progress of Kosovo, while the European Union helps us in strengthening the rule of law, by bringing best European practices.
Kosovo subscribes to the high ideals and principles of respect for human and minority-community rights, tolerance and diversity, that guide other democracies. However, tolerance and diversity are values that are not only learned within a community, but also by interacting and communicating with other communities. The dimension of technologic development and globalism has an impact in transformation of the interethnic societies giving them the characteristics that move towards integration and the competition with the communication language.
Civil society and non-governmental organizations, as the most active part of what we call “Global Village”, is an essential actor in building an inter-ethnicity, multiculturalism and global level integration. Civil society brings unique global values, overcomes local differences and knows no boundaries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
An interethnic city must also be an equal opportunity city, and in particular, a gender equality city. A society should give an opportunity to half of its population, to enable progress in its entirety. I am proud that women make up almost one-third of the seats of the Kosovo Parliament and are in key positions in our state institutions.
It is impressive to see the role of women in the transformation of the countries and societies of North Africa and the Middle East. They stood shoulder to shoulder with men in overthrowing authoritarianism as a concept of regime. Their participation in these struggles for democracy has created new grounds for democratic transitions that will also provide the much needed gender equality. This is an historic opportunity for the democratic world to assist what may become the second wave of “democracy enlargement”, after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Republic of Kosovo is committed to the values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness, acceptance and dialogue. Nevertheless, we face a number of challenges which derive from our late transition and delayed achievement of statehood, as well as from the problems with our neighbor Serbia.
Today the citizens of Kosovo pursue a free and safe life, protected by the law, with individual and communal progress and prosperity. We are building a society based on respect for individual freedoms, with citizen-based participation in decision-making and the provision of services to communities in their own language. We support inter-confessional dialogue and preserve cultural and religious heritage.
Kosovo will continue to contribute to the trust between communities and nations, to understanding and accepting of each other, and supporting the feeling of identity and belonging.
The Republic of Kosovo looks forward to becoming a full member of the UN and the EU along with all the countries of the Western Balkans, and making its contribution for the region’s peace, stability, democracy and prosperity.
Thank you for your attention.