President Osmani’s address at the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia

Honourable Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Talat Xhaferi,

Honourable citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia,

Honourable host, Mr. President Pendarovski, thank you for the invitation for an official visit to North Macedonia,

Honourable Prime Minister Kovacevski, a friend of the Republic of Kosovo,

Honourable MPs

Honourable Excellencies, Ambassadors,

Honourable President of the Constitutional Court,

Representatives of the religious clergy and all of you present here today,

Dobro ve najdov, dragi sosedi

I am happy to be visiting the next-door neighbour of Kosovo today and of course, I am honoured that I was given the opportunity to address the members of the Parliament of North Macedonia and through you, the citizens of your country.

We are not only geographical neighbours with North Macedonia, but we also share the same values and the same goals. Our common goal is the European family, where our future lies and above all, where we have already demonstrated that we deserve to belong.

The Republic of Kosovo and North Macedonia enjoy excellent neighbourly relations not only on paper but also in practice. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, we have made extremely important progress in strengthening bilateral relations and the climate of good neighbourliness, which we have continuously nurtured.

In 1999, during our dark days, when our existence was threatened by Milosevic’s genocidal machine, North Macedonia, and especially the Albanians in this country, opened their doors and hearts, becoming a refuge for many forcibly expelled and many others escaped death by becoming refugees in other countries of the world. Therefore, thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of all the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo to all those who stood by us in 1998-99!

May we return the favour!

24 years after this sad story, we have bright days ahead of us. Today, citizens of both countries come and go as they please. It is completely normal that a large number of car signs in the parking lots of Skopje are from the Republic of Kosovo, and vice versa, we see as many visitors from North Macedonia in the many attractions that our Republic offers. Our connections are strong, frequent, and now fast. We celebrate together, we engage in business activities, we study and have regular academic exchange and we have frequented touristic visits, but above all, we enjoy strong friendships and family ties.

Honourable Members of the Parliament,

The Albanian people living in North Macedonia have always been and always remain a strong connecting bridge between our two countries. They played a key role in the state formation and state building of North Macedonia and today they are key contributors to its European perspective.

In the foundations of the modern Macedonian state, Albanians side by side with other ethnic groups are building a common future on the principles of equality and inclusiveness. They are already included in leadership positions, having a greater representation in state institutions, but there is always room to do more.

Despite the challenges from the past, today there are several universities operating in North Macedonia, which offer study programs in the Albanian language. They guarantee the preservation of identity, while laying the foundations of knowledge, which then enables the full integration of Albanians into the society of North Macedonia and beyond.

Undoubtedly, the preservation and cultivation of the Albanian language is a very important element in the development of coexistence, just as the diversity and preservation of identities and different cultures is an added value of our societies.

Driven by the vision for increased well-being and with the aim of overcoming the socio-economic challenges that our entire region is facing, the increase of investments in the settlements where Albanians live and the capacity strengthening of local self-government units and finances will be seen as a priority. In this manner, additional opportunities are created for citizens to be offered the highest quality services, as well as to guarantee the use of the Albanian language in all institutions of the country.

Honourable participants,

Relations between Kosovo and North Macedonia are a positive example of good neighbourliness in the Western Balkans. Both countries recognize the importance of this neighbourliness in promoting regional stability, economic development and European integration.

Cooperation in areas such as education and culture, mutual economic investments, healthcare and tourism, can help build even stronger ties between states and people, while dialogue and continued engagement on issues such as security and economic development will help in creating a more integrated and prosperous region.

Therefore, one of the key areas of cooperation between Kosovo and North Macedonia is that of economic development. We have worked together to increase trade and investment, which has contributed to increased employment opportunities, economic growth and prosperity. The potential is enormously greater, so let’s use it and make sure that this cooperation flourishes even further.

We are cooperating with the same zeal in the field of security. Both countries are proving the importance of joint efforts in the fight against organized crime and other security challenges facing our region. Recently, we have intensified cooperation and interaction in the field of defense and we are working to sit next to you as soon as possible in the North Atlantic Alliance, in NATO.

However, our states and people are not only connected via political relations but also through concrete investment projects, such as the highway named after the political icon here in North Macedonia, the “Arbën Xhaferi” highway, to the border with North Macedonia.

In this spirit, as we discussed today, we are very interested in increasing the infrastructural connections with North Macedonia and we hope that the section of the highway from Bllacë to Skopje will be completed as soon as possible.

We are also interested in finalizing efforts to establish common border points at the two main crossing points between our two countries. These projects would really facilitate even more the circulation of citizens and goods and would contribute to the increase of cooperation between our businesses.

We have consistently shown commitment to peaceful dialogue and regional cooperation, giving priority to building positive and constructive relations. Regional cooperation should serve the Euro-Atlantic agenda and be based on democratic values.

Our relationship, honourable members of parliament, was made even more dynamic by our youth, which has always given impetus to important processes and also to building friendships with neighbouring countries. It is precisely the youth that always breaks barriers and made us believe in the transformative potential of trust and cooperation.

Therefore, I believe a lot in the youth of our two countries and I am sure that they will lead us with conviction and dedication towards the opening of new chapters of cooperation in the future.

And yes, I believe as much in the transformative power of girls and women in our societies. They are continually proving to have the potential to expose us to possibilities that were easily unthinkable. They are leading us and proving extraordinary leadership in very complex processes and in different fields from security to art, from sports to business and many, many other fields, where our women and girls shine. Therefore, I am sure that a future of empowered girls and women leads to the creation of an even better and more advanced spirit of neighbourliness.

Therefore, we must recall that interstate cooperation has a profound impact on the lives of the people living in our states, but also remains essential for the further integration of the Western Balkans region into the European Union.

The European Union and NATO are the destinations where we want to be together. These two value systems are the model and standard that we want to apply in our country and in our region.

Indeed, our region has been through many upheavals and has an extremely painful past, but an extremely optimistic future. We must keep the optimism and belief alive that our country, our rightful place is in the European Union and that there is no other alternative. Any other alternative, in fact, would be bleak, hopeless and destructive for our nations. That’s why we have never turned our heads toward other alternatives and have always been determined and without any dilemma in our path toward the Euro-Atlantic structures.

Through mutual support in the European integration process, Kosovo and North Macedonia are demonstrating a commitment to regional stability and prosperity.

Days ago, Kosovo gained visa liberalization in an extremely protracted and unfair process, but it finally happened, after a lot of work and long efforts, and because we had a strong voice supported by our friends in North Macedonia. But this has also opened a new chapter in our Euro-Atlantic journey.

The next goal is the status of the candidate country for EU membership as well as membership in the strongest military alliance known to mankind, NATO. We will work diligently in this direction and we will have the opportunity to learn from the experience of North Macedonia.

In view of the excellent neighbourliness, I have no doubt that North Macedonia will be by Kosovo’s side, not only in the EU and NATO membership process but also in other international organizations.

I therefore take the opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your country’s vote in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe held on April 24th, as well as for your support to Kosovo in every other initiative so far.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Dear citizens,

In the context of global developments, Kosovo and North Macedonia are on the side of justice, they are on the side of democracy, they are on the side of Ukraine, and are among the first countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia and have condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine. We will continue to support the people of Ukraine until freedom and peace triumph.

Neighbouring countries in the Western Balkans must work together to counter Russia’s influence in the region, which poses a threat to regional stability and security.

By working together to promote economic development and investment in the region, but also by advancing cooperation built on common values, we can help reduce the vulnerability of the states of the region to such influence and interference.

Such interventions, of course, aim to create divisions, create differences between us and damage good neighbourly relations. Because for those with malicious intent, it is not values that unite people, but hegemonic interests. But, we will continue to prove the opposite, as we have done until now, standing together and by each other’s side on our Euro-Atlantic path.

This is what our people expect from us, whose strong ties should be our permanent guide to good relations.

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Honourable participants,

The future of Kosovo – North Macedonia relations is extremely promising and has great potential.

Trust between states and nations is essential in building meaningful partnerships based on transparency, honesty and mutual respect.

Good neighbourly relations contribute to the creation of an environment that fosters unity, trust and respect.

From this year onward, your country carries another special meaning for us, since it was in Ohrid that the Implementation Plan of the Brussels Agreement with Serbia was agreed upon. This moment marked an important turning point in the dialogue process. It ensured that Kosovo and Serbia are seen as equal parties in the context of interstate relations and that important principles of international law are recognized in relation to each other. Kosovo has shown itself to be constructive, responsible and will be as such during the implementation of the agreement.

Therefore, the relations between Kosovo and its neighbours are extremely important and we have always approached them with the highest constructiveness. The relations between Kosovo and North Macedonia are really model relations. Therefore, let us continue to be good neighbours to each other. Let us serve as examples of good friendship for the entire region and beyond.

Today we are meeting in Skopje, and I hope that in the near future, with North Macedonia and the entire Western Balkan region, we will meet in Brussels – in the cradle of the European Union.
Nie navistina sakame da vlezeme vo Evropa, kolku shto sakame da gi napravime nashite drzhavi evropski. Granicite ne delat, no Evropa ke ne obedini!
Gospod da go blagoslovi prijatelstvoto na Kosovo i Severna Makedonija.

(We really want to become part of Europe, as much as we want to make our countries European. Borders divide us, but Europe will unite us! God bless Kosovo’s friendship with North Macedonia)

Thank you!

Vi blagodaram!

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