The President of the Republic of Kosovo Behgjet Pacolli visited Mitrovica today. Accompanied by the Minister of Internal Affairs Bajram Rexhepi and his associates, President Pacolli crossed the bridge that has turned into a symbol of town’s division after the war on foot. He also visited the area in the northern part of Mitrovica known as the Three Skyscrapers, and stayed at Minister Bajram Rexhepi’s house in Suhodoll.
Behgjet Pacolli’s visit was the first visit paid to this part of the town by a President of Kosovo.
Albanian dwellers followed the visit with applauses. They also presented their problems and troubles to the President, who stopped on the street to talk with them.
“Your concerns are our concerns. Always feel yourselves as equal citizens of the Republic of Kosovo. We are resolved to fight all the gangs and criminals that obstruct normal life in this area. I assure you that no one will dare to point his finger at any other citizen in the future, regardless of his ethnic background. You are a part of Kosovo and you will always enjoy the support and the commitment of institutions of Kosovo”, President Pacolli emphasized while talking with the dwellers of the Three Skyscrapers neighborhood.
On the other hand, speaking before journalists, President Pacolli said: “We visited this part of Kosovo; we were on this side of the river, as I don’t recognize north or south as terms; I only recognize geographic terms, as opposed to politic or administrative ones”.
“We visited this side so that we could, more or less, support the dwellers of the area, irrespective of their religious or ethnic background, and tell them that they are an integral part of Kosovo; that they are citizens of Kosovo; that they may feel at home; that law rules here and that we are committed to improve the lives of the people living on this side”, President Pacolli asserted.
The Minister of Internal Affair Bajram Rexhepi praised President’s commitment to visit this part of Kosovo at the very begging of his mandate.
Mr. Rexhepi also pointed out that north and south are geographic terms in some people’s minds and that, gradually and by a common engagement, the entire territory of Kosovo will be unified and that Kosovo laws would apply.
Further on, Minister Rexhepi explained President Pacolli’s ideas for this part of the town concerning rule of law and economic growth.
“Rule of law and economic growth come first and will constitute strategic goals in the future, so that we can have a real civic integration, besides the administrative one”, Minister Rexhepi stated.
Later on, President Pacolli answered questions posed by journalists. Answered if the issue of this part of Kosovo would be discussed during the talks with Serbia, President Pacolli said: “Today is a beautiful day, as we can talk about problems that the people of Mitrovica are facing. The Negotiating Team is being established and they have their agenda, an agenda that is supported by our international friends, by the Government of Kosovo and, of course, by the Office of the President, so let us leave them act according to their agenda”.
“Mr. President, you told the people that you would fight criminal gangs in this part of Kosovo. How will you do that? – was the other question that followed, which President Pacolli answered by saying: “I promise you that, during this five-year mandate, together with the people of the Government of Kosovo, with the people of Kosovo, with the people who strive for the best for Kosovo and who love Kosovo, we will reinstate law and order in this part as well. Law will be above all in this part as well and this area, the citizens of this area, will feel as an integral part of Kosovo”.
On the other hand, asked how it felt to be the first President to cross the Iber bridge on foot and to visit the area, President Pacolli said: “It was the first time for me to cross the bridge as President of Kosovo. I have crossed this bridge before and I promise you that we will visit this part of Kosovo many other times. The people who live here deserve this and we will deal with the problems that the people living in this area are facing”.