President Vjosa Osmani’s address at the state reception held in honour of the 16th anniversary of independence

Honourable President Begaj,

Honourable First Lady Armanda Begaj,

Honourable Speaker of the Assembly Mr. Konjufca

Honourable Prime Minister Kurti and members of the government cabinet,

Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Gjeloshaj,

Honourable ambassadors, representatives of amicable countries,

Honourable former President Sejdiu,

Dear representatives from all over Kosovo, including local government representatives,

Honourable brothers and sisters from Albania, from Preshevë, Medvegjë and Bujanoc, from North Macedonia, from Montenegro and beyond,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a special pleasure to see you in such a magnificent number on the occasion of the celebration of the 16th anniversary of the independence of our Republic!

I am truly happy to stand before you at this celebratory ceremony on a day and a time when our hearts are filled with pride and gratitude.

Sixteen years ago, we took a historic step towards the strengthening of our freedom, opening a new chapter that was crowned with the proclamation of the Republic of Kosovo.

February 17th will always be remembered as a historic turning point and a chapter of joy in the modern history of our country, but it is also an annual reminder of the heavy burden of responsibility that rests on our shoulders, a duty to build and nurture a state based on the principles of freedom, democracy and justice.

Our journey so far was anything, but an easy one. The peaceful resistance over the years led by the architect of our state, the historical president Ibrahim Rugova, followed by the armed resistance by commander-in-chief Adem Jashari with his family and the Kosovo Liberation Army, is the result of the resistance inherited through generations, but also of the high awareness that the price of freedom is the most expensive, but also the most precious. 

For this very reason, we honor today the memory, work and legacy of our heroines and heroes, because their sublime sacrifice gave life to the Kosovo of our days.

We are also proud that in this journey of ours for an independent state, we had the continuous support of our international allies, especially the United States of America and European countries. As in our darkest days, they stood by us even in the challenging journey of nation-building.

The success of Kosovo is also the success of our partners and allies. Therefore, as long as we move forward with a clear vision for the Euro-Atlantic future, alliances remain crucial, partnerships are deeply important, and cooperation is the key that brings us closer to the most worthy and promising future.

Thank you to the United States of America, thank you to NATO and thank you to all the amicable countries which in 1999 were on our side, on the right side of history, protecting us from extermination, from the genocidal Serbian regime!

As important as allies were when we fulfilled our dream of freedom and state, they are just as important today as we commit and work hard to protect our freedom, our state and our future.

At these challenging times for Europe and the entire globe, only together can we face all the challenges.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

The foundations of the Republic of Kosovo rest on a commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law. We have worked hard and diligently to build institutions that reflect these values, institutions that are accountable to citizens without distinction and that serve their interests above all.

Despite the challenges, our conviction is unwavering: Kosovo is worthy and deserves its place in the heart of the Euro-Atlantic family. Although it can not always be seen clearly, each of our days is a step closer to making this dream of our people a reality.

Our state embodies our common aspirations, struggles and triumphs. It is a testament to the heroism of those who dared to challenge tyranny and pave the way for our unfettered today and our brighter tomorrow.

Let us celebrate this day with pride, with the conviction that our journey to independence is a testament to the resilience of the spirit of our citizens. As we aim to protect freedom at all costs, to make the state even more powerful and integrated in the Euro-Atlantic structures, let us do this with unparalleled dedication and side by side with our friends and allies.

Kosovo is above all!

Happy 16th anniversary, our country!

God bless our Republic and its friends!

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