President Sejdiu’s address on the occasion celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of LDK ‏

It is a special pleasure for me to address you today on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Democratic League of Kosovo.

Honorable members, LDK activists and supporters,
Honorable deputy leaders and members of LDK Presidency and General Council,
Honorable leaders of political parties,
Honorable accredited ambassadors and international representatives in Kosovo,
Dear representatives of state scientific and educational institutions,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a special pleasure for me to address you today on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Democratic League of Kosovo.

The Democratic League of Kosovo was established at the time when a system that had brought about many tragedies in Kosovo was phasing out and at the times when the communistic system was falling in the South-East Europe. While Germany and the world were tearing down the Berlin War, the LDK started to tear down the walls between Albanians, by announcing the idea of Kosovo’s independence.

LDK’s birthday, the 23 December 1989, marks the beginnings of democracy in this part of Europe and world. The LDK was the first and the most powerful sign of political pluralism in the South-East Europe. This party has initiated many important processes that have taken place over the past two decades in this part of Europe.

For 20 years, these three letters, LDK, have become a sign of Albanians’ spirit and engagement, sacrifice and commitment in Kosovo and our diaspora. They have developed into mobilizing and inspiring values for all Albanians wherever they were. Moreover, these three letters have become a sign of recognition by the democratic world for a country and a people that was striving for its right to being an equal part of a free world and West-European civilization, to which it has always belonged spiritually and physically.

As President Rugova always used to say, the LDK has always played a leading role in our political movement and action and it was a hope and a promise to Kosovo and all Albanians.

In view of all the developments that our country has gone through over these 20 years that have followed the establishment of the Democratic League of Kosovo, we can undoubtedly assert that the LDK has established and implemented the platform of our national policy for Kosovo’s freedom and independence, because it has inspired and assisted by investing its entire potential in providing for the survival of the people of Kosovo in face of a vicious oppression by Milosevic, whose ultimate goal was our physical annihilation.

Ever since its establishment, the LDK became a carrier of civic and national integration, without any prior ideological signals. There is no doubt that one of the main sources of its magnitude and efficiency was the unity of all and the respectful and the equal treatment of each citizen as an important part of our great project.

Dear participants,

The LDK was the very essence of the hope of a people. This is why it was promoted as an all-inclusive project that aimed at a peaceful solution to Kosovo’s political status. With its clear vision, the LDK has initiated and organized major projects that have strengthened Kosovo’s identity as a state, such as the Declaration of 2 July 1990, the Constitution of Kaçanik and the Referendum for an independent and sovereign Kosovo that was held in September 1991 and when the political will of the people was confirmed, for the first time, by plebiscite. 
In the course of time, the LDK political and national plan was embraced by the entire people of Kosovo and became Kosovo’s political and national program.

Independent governmental, institutional funding, educational system, information, health care, security, social aid, sports and other systems were created under LDK’s leadership. For the first time, a great Albanian political project resulted in the organization of our diaspora in Europe and America.

In implementing this political program, LDK’s industrious activists carried the heavy burden of organizing an institutional life in Kosovo, though they were under the oppression of a brutal conqueror, who was arresting, imprisoning and torturing them everyday.

Many LDK activists have given their lives during their everyday efforts to stand by the people of our country and many others were severely injured, but there was always another volunteer to take over.

Throughout the 90s, the LDK has fostered, institutionalized and maintained, with an unequaled commitment, the great spirit of solidarity and love between people and families all around Kosovo.

Seen from today’s perspective, one can hardly imagine how it was possible, under those terrible conditions, to protect our physical integrity and to keep the great spirit of defiance alive.

Our great movement for freedom and independence would have failed were it not for the magnificent spirit of solidarity and love that was nurtured and strengthened by the LDK.

Therefore, today we may say that those who have worked day and night with this spirit in order to provide for the survival of the people of Kosovo, those who have offered their houses to serve as schools and as university or other institutional facilities, those who have provided an unreserved support to the implementation of this political project, deserve to be permanently honored by all our future generations.

Dear participants in this solemnity,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, at this solemn anniversary, at the 20th anniversary of LDK’s inception, which we are celebrating in a sovereign and independent Kosovo, we proudly reemphasize that the Democratic League of Kosovo and its President Dr. Ibrahim Rugova have provided a special contribution to the internationalization of the issue of Kosovo, by including Kosovo, for the first time, into the agenda of major international institutions and decision-making centers.

Chancelleries of major capitals around the world were opened to the leader of Kosovo, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, who, with his wisdom, knowledge and prudence, explained to the world leaders the truth about Kosovo and about the rights of its people, the truth about the crimes that were being committed on daily basis and about genocidal politics that the Serbian state apparatus was running against Albanians in Kosovo.

During all this time, President Rugova warned of potential massive crimes by the Belgrade regime. The war that broke out in 1998-1999 confirmed his concern. However, his continuous call for an international intervention eventually encountered the support of the United States of America, European Union and other world’s democracies, because he encouraged the governments of these western countries to undertake a resolute military action against Serbian army and police in Kosovo. The NATO intervention in 1999 in Kosovo brought what President Rugova had requested for a decade – the expulsion of Serbian military and police forces from Kosovo and Kosovo’s placement under an international civil and military administration.

As a visionary leader, with his assessment and forecasting skills, President Rugova was always a step ahead of others. He had given us the real signs of our future and was able to anticipate this future.

Dear participants in this great solemnity,

President Rugova managed to make friends and supporters for Kosovo in every corner of the world.

Having had the fate and the responsibility to inherit the position of President Rugova, I have also had the chance to listen – in my office and in different world’s main towns – best words of praise for President Rugova, uttered by distinguished world diplomats, presidents and prime ministers, who recall their meetings with him as notable events in their political careers.

The magnificence of LDK’s political philosophy and the magnitude of Dr. Ibrahim Rugova’s personality were acknowledged by respectful statesmen around the world. The last time, on 1 November 2009, President Clinton, during a meeting that I had with him, dedicated a large part of our conversation to President Rugova and his impressions of meetings that he has had with him in the White House.

President Clinton said that President Rugova was his dearest guest in the White House, and the precious stone that he has received from him has been named, in time, as ‘Rugova’s stone’.

Having been an established connoisseur of our ethnic and national culture and owing to his wish to reveal the best qualities of the ethnicity to which he belonged, giving precious stones and crystals to Kosovo’s friends became a usual ritual for President Rugova.

This is how he honored a friend and the country that he represented and this is how he implied that this was exactly why Kosovo was occupied, because of these resources that God had bestowed on Kosovo.

Dear participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Democratic League of Kosovo was very lucky to have in its bosom remarkable visionaries, patriots and humanists, such as Fehmi Agani, Xhemajl Mustafa, Enver Maloku, Sali Çeku, Latif Berisha, Agim Hajrizi, Shaban Manaj, Ukë Bytyçi, Ismet Rraci, Smajl Hajdaraj, Xhavit Ahmeti, Bardhyl Çaushi, and many others. Neither of them is physically here with us today, but they remain present in the tribute that we and the entire Kosovo will pay to them forever, because they have lived and worked with honor for Kosovo, peace, freedom and love between the people. They belonged to the LDK and to Kosovo and this is what they will remain forever.

The loss of so many eminent leaders and activists over years has undoubtedly constituted a heavy blow for the LDK. But, owing to the prudent leadership of Ibrahim Rugova and its well-organized structure, the LDK has managed to overcome many challenges and to maintain and foster its permanent spirit of political action and thought.

Yet, the death of President Rugova on 21 January 2006 was the heaviest and most painful blow that the LDK has ever suffered. The man who had projected the concept of independence, could not live as long as to bear witness of its becoming a reality, just like the Moses from the Bible who has led his people to the Promised Land and who didn’t reach to tread on it himself. Rugova led Kosovo during its darkest moments, but was not as fortunate as to wait for the Independence Day Republic of Kosovo. Nonetheless, he had a dream; he had a vision which he never gave up striving for.

Dear members and sympathizers of LDK,

A free, independent and democratic Kosovo, integrated into European Union and NATO and a permanent bond with the United States of America was the motto of the political thought and action of Democratic League of Kosovo and its leader, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova. Even today, after 20 years, this remains LDK’s main vision for the future of its country. Bearing witness of the fact that this permanent vision of ours has already become a common goal of all political entities and institutions of our country, we can not but take pride in the fact that we have stood true and engaged in making this vision a reality.

A free people living in a sovereign, independent and democratic state – this was the vision of LDK for Kosovo, this was the vision of its founders, molded and directed by our historic leader, the colossus of freedom, our magnificent and prudent intellectual, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova.

Today, we are happy to announce that the ideals of LDK, the ideals of historic President Ibrahim Rugova and all his co-thinkers and cooperators, have become a reality; the freedom, which has been was won owing to sacrifices that were made for centuries, is gaining in ground; the independence of Republic of Kosovo has and is being widely recognized worldwide, and the democracy in our country is functioning and developing together with institutions that were established by the free votes of the sovereign, the people of Kosovo.

Anyways, on a beautiful and solemn date like this anniversary of the Democratic League of Kosovo, we must display the political moderation, prudence and pragmatism that we have maintained during these two decades of a remarkable political and national engagement.

Accordingly, I want to draw your attention to challenges that lay ahead of us and which are many. The economic growth of our country; creation of new jobs, especially for the youth; approximation of our national education with the European standards of education; renewal and building of power generation capacities and rich Kosovo mines; cultivation of our fertile land and reproduction of many crops that it produces; strengthening and modernization of health and social care for the elderly, pensioners, war invalids and their families as well as other layers society who are living on the verge of a social calamity, are only some of many questions that require solutions, so that our new state, the independent and sovereign state of Kosovo can move safely toward its irreversible future in the Euro-Atlantic community.

I am positive that Kosovo has the political, human and professional capacities and the will, knowledge and competence to find the needed solutions to these important issues. There is no doubt that the LDK has had a clear vision for the past decades and that it also has a vision for the next decades in a democratic and developed Kosovo and integrated into Europe. Therefore, I rest fully confident that the LDK and its people will move on forward, like they have done so far, because they are the ones who have created and have given shape to the political fight for the freedom and independence of Kosovo and they are going to be the ones who will, in a politically plural and democratic Kosovo, add a value to our joint efforts to turn Kosovo into a real democratic country of rule of law, into a country loved by all its citizens, regardless of their ethnic background, and into a country which shall be soon integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community.

I would hereby like to express my deep appreciation for the LDK’s determination to remain a party of a democratic tradition in Kosovo and a party with a clear vision for the future of our country at the same time.

Today, on the 20th anniversary of its establishment, we should praise LDK’s commitment to remaining open to courageous ideas and actions, a modern party that provides a lot of room for future leaders and for the utilization of the potential of younger generations and new energies and ideas. We should appreciate the fact that this party has made more and more room for the youth who perceive the LDK as a party of their European future, as a modern right-wing party that already enjoys the respect of the parties of European peoples.

The LDK was and shall remain a party of national and European values, because such was the LDK that President Rugova has left to us and such is the LDK that the people of Republic of Kosovo desire.

Dar participants in this great solemnity,

As President of the country, it is a special pleasure for me to be addressing you at this unique solemnity of our political scene, on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Democratic League of Kosovo, which, ever since its inspection, was and remained a great and prudent movement in our fight for freedom, independence and democracy.

Therefore, on this solemn occasion, when we are taking stock of achievements and progress made by the LDK and our country over the past twenty years, let us wish together for a further progress in our road to accomplishing our vision of a future in Europe for our beloved Kosovo!

Good health, goof luck and success we wish to all those who live with and contribute to the idea and the vision of a Kosovo in Europe!

My congratulations to you on this great anniversary!

Happy holidays to all of you!

Best wishes and good luck!

God Bless Kosovo and its people!

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