President Osmani's speech at the sixth Republic of Kosovo Ambassadors' Conference

Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. Kurti,
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Donika Gërvalla,
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Bislimi,
Honourable Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Ms. Bogujevci,
Honourable heads of mission and diplomats of the Republic of Kosovo,
Dear friends,
Dear participants and media representatives,

Annual ambassadorial conferences such as this one serve to have an open discussion about our foreign policy, as well as the regional, continental and global environment in which we find ourselves as a country, the achievements and challenges facing our foreign policy and external service, as well as to deliver messages to you on key foreign policy topics.

Our foreign policy must always be in the interest of the state, in the interest of its citizens and based on the promotion of Euro-Atlantic values, building partnerships with countries from different continents and expanding alliances with our traditional strategic partners. Therefore, this Conference should enable us through discussions and analyses, to reach the same understanding of the environment that affects our foreign policy, clarify the strategic goals of this policy, as well as identify areas and good practices in which we must improve ourselves.

You, as diplomats of the Republic of Kosovo, are the mirror and the window of Kosovo abroad. On the one hand, with your actions, you must reflect the fundamental values of the Republic of Kosovo related to democracy, ethnic and cultural diversity and the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of our citizens, and on the other hand, you are the window through which you communicate and build bridges of cooperation with institutions and organizations in the countries where you work and serve as Kosovo's home to our ex-pats as well. For this reason, I ask you to upscale your efforts and engagement together with us so that Kosovo gains as many friends and as many partners as possible in the international arena, as well as to communicate and cooperate even more closely with the Office of the President and with all other institutions towards the realization of our common goals for a stronger Kosovo.

Also, I encourage you that during the Conference and the discussions in the various panels, we are all also self-critical about the achievements and challenges we face, since this approach helps us to improve and perform much better as institutions in the service of state interests of all our citizens.

As the leader of foreign policy, I have constantly articulated the strategic objectives of Kosovo in foreign policy which, among other things, include:

• strengthening the international subjectivity of our Republic, including the aim for new recognitions and membership in international organizations;

• the advancement of the integration process in the Euro-Atlantic structures;

• promoting good relations with countries around the world that share the same values as us; and

• promotion of the country's economic interests.

Regarding the environment in which our foreign policy operates, it should be underlined that during 2022 we were challenged in four directions.

First, Serbia continued with active actions against our international position through the corrupt campaign of blocking of new recognitions and memberships in international organizations. We have fought against these actions of Serbia in cooperation with the allies and we have taken concrete steps towards the creation of communication channels with non-recognizing countries this year, and as you know, we also submitted the request for membership in the Council of Europe and also the application for membership in the European Union. However, as a foreign policy, we must further multiply our joint efforts to stop Serbia's influence on other countries, especially by using our close partnership with the amicable countries that we have on each continent.

Second, Serbia has taken action against the constitutional order by forcing Serbs in the north to abandon the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo through threats, coercion, attacks, but also enticement in certain cases. These actions are aimed at destabilization of the country and the creation of an institutional vacuum in the north as a prelude to what Serbia wants, i.e. its territorial claims in relation to Kosovo. Such a thing will of course never be allowed and our actions will only increase in establishing the rule of law in every part, in every corner of our territory. In relation to the Serbs who are citizens of our Republic, our institutions will always be supportive of socio-economic initiatives with the aim of their full integration into the multi-ethnic society of the Republic of Kosovo.

Third, the dialogue process with Serbia was undermined and blocked by the obstructionist actions of the regime in Serbia, making progress and the achievement of agreements impossible on many fronts, including the blocking of the agreement on forcibly missing, the non-implementation of the agreement in the field of energy, the non-implementation of other agreements which were reached during the last months as well as blocking the discussion on the document proposed by Germany and France and supported by the USA. Despite these challenges, Kosovo has been a constructive party and engaged in dialogue following clear principles: the final agreement must be centered on mutual recognition and must respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity, constitutional order and institutional functionality of the Republic of Kosovo.

And fourth, Russia's war on Ukraine which, in addition to the consequences it has brought to European security by creating a clear division between the states in the Euro-Atlantic axis against the Russian one and has actualized the importance of NATO, the crisis of inflation, energy and supply food, has offered us opportunities in foreign policy to show our Euro-Atlantic values and to get even closer to our allies.

Also, as far as the international context is concerned, our foreign policy, like that of other countries, has been influenced by changes in the global economy and hybrid threats as a result of Russia's war on Ukraine and the malicious actions of states such as China and Iran or non-state actors which are challenging the international order. In an increasingly interconnected world, the international environment in which states operate is becoming even more complex, unpredictable and subject to unstoppable change. Therefore, a secure regional and global environment requires international cooperation between all countries since problems, both regional and global, require solutions based on partnership and reciprocity. In this regard, Kosovo has been completely in harmony with the decisions made by the USA and the European Union in imposing sanctions on Russia after its military aggression on Ukraine. Based on these developments, it has already become necessary to increase security capacities, including those of cyber security, since hybrid warfare and non-traditional security threats continue to challenge countries around the globe.

In terms of bilateral diplomacy, our focus should be on maintaining and further expanding existing friendships, especially with the United States of America, the European Union member states, Great Britain, with the states of the region, but also aim at forging new friendships with every country in all continents. We must of course continue to work together to strengthen our fraternal relations with Albania every day, eliminating barriers and increasing the number of agreements that benefit our citizens and we also work to strengthen the partnership based on values with every country.

At the multilateral level, this year we have taken concrete steps towards membership in the Council of Europe. Just last week we signed and submitted the application for membership in the European Union. Membership in the EU is of course a strategic objective, but we must all know that the application is a concrete step that brings us one step closer to the realization of this historic goal. In this spirit, we have also started political discussions with NATO member states regarding the application for the Partnership for Peace program as a formal step prior to formal NATO membership.

And also, within the framework of strengthening the international position of Kosovo, we have become part of new multilateral initiatives as an equal party with other countries. This year, Kosovo was invited to be an equal party in the creation of the European Political Community, which is an initiative of President Macron and which unites 44 countries of the European continent. In this manner, we will continue with membership in other regional, continental and global initiatives, until Kosovo takes its rightful place in the international arena.

At the end, let me emphasize that I am very aware of the challenges you face each day, as a person who dealt with this field even before the embassies were established, but especially from 2008 onwards when we established the first Embassies of our Republic. It won't be easy even from now on, but let's make sure that in every job, in every action, in every effort and in every engagement, we don't forget that what we protect together is sacred. We protect the sovereignty of a state that was built with blood, it was built with many sacrifices and it was built with the strength of many people who preceded our freedom by sacrificing their most precious. Let's not forget this every day when we face difficulties either to knock on doors, or to open those doors, or to argue for what is our right, or defend the values on which we all stand together with our friends. Therefore, despite the challenges, let's not forget that we are defending freedoms that have been achieved with many a sacrifice, and I believe this is what should guide us in our daily work, regardless of whether we are at the leadership of the state or in the embassies in which we serve for the benefit of the state and of our citizens.

Finally, allow me to thank you for your cooperation throughout this year, to encourage you that it will only grow and deepen in the coming years, and of course to wish you and your families good health and much success for you and for Kosovo throughout the year 2023.

As for more details, and you know that I will go into more details, at least you who know me know this, tomorrow at the panel discussion.

Thank you very much!