President Thaçi’s annual speech to the deputies in the Assembly of Kosovo

Honourable Speaker of the Parliament, Kadri Veseli,

Honourable Parliamentary Presidency,

Honourable members of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo,

Honourable Members of the Parliament of Kosovo,

Honourable citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,

I am happy and proud to present the achievements of Kosovo at this Jubilary year, we are now leaving behind.

But, to, also show the path ahead of us and the opportunities it brings for a greater development of our republic.

2018 was a Jubilary year, when we marked the first decade of the state of Kosovo.

In ten days of celebrations in February, we disclosed the achievements of Kosovo during its first ten years in all fields of life.

Dealing with day to day issues, we sometimes forget to see how far we have reached.

For this reason, these ten years of festivity were a good opportunity to see where we were and where we are today.

From a country destroyed by the genocide exercised by the state of Serbia, we have risen to become an independent and sovereign state.

- With the fastest economic development in the region;

- With the most advanced legislation in the region;

- With democratic and stable institutions;

- Successful in education and healthcare, in science, arts, sports and culture;

We remembered the sacrifices and engagements for freedom.

We shall be eternally grateful to those who gave all for the freedom which we enjoy today.

To the martyrs and their families.

And we promise that we shall do all it takes for sufferings not to be repeated again, for anyone.

We shall do this for the forthcoming generation.

But we are also doing it for the current citizens of Kosovo, real heroes of Kosovo’s success.

Please allow me to mention a fact which got lost in the whirlwind of the 10th anniversary news.

Almost half a million of citizens from all around Kosovo and the diaspora have celebrated on the 17th of February the first decade of the state of Kosovo.

And during the day long celebrations not a single incident was recorded.

This shows the dedication of the citizens of Kosovo for the order, peace and security.

 

Honourable members of parliament,

Honourable ladies and gentlemen,

As the President of the country, during 2018 I have represented the country within the state and abroad.

I have received in Kosovo President Pahor of Slovenia and President Junker of the EU, Chancellor Kurz of Austria and the Greek Foreign Minister.

I carried out visits to the United States of America, Germany, United Kingdom, and in the countries of the region as well, to Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia.

I represented Kosovo at the most important international forums, as is the World Economic Forum in Davos and this forums other meetings in Montreal, Canada and Geneva, Switzerland.

I also represented the country at the United Nations General Assembly and at the Paris Peace Forum.

I also represented Kosovo at the EU and the Western Balkan Countries Sofia Summit, Alpbach Summit in Austria and Munich Security Conference.

Also at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Korea.

In Yerevan, Armenia, we advanced our position from an observer to associated member of the Organisation of the Francophonie.

At all these forums, we made it clear that Kosovo is determined for a sustainable peace in the region and beyond.

That Kosovo is dedicated to the dialogue and peace.

That Kosovo engages wholeheartedly to become a NATO and EU member.

 

Honourable members of parliament,

Honourable ladies and gentlemen,

There were moments during 2018 which were difficult and when we suffered losses.

This year we lost Adem Demaçi and Fadil Vokrri.

There are no words to describe this loss.

We will keep and cherish the memories by continuing to work for what they dreamed as well.

We felt pain as well when we did not get accepted in INTERPOL, but also for the delay of the EU visa liberalisation for our citizens.

I am proud that as a state, as a society, we have accomplished all that was asked of us. We have fulfilled each and every criteria, both for INTERPOL and visa liberalisation.

Lack of a just decision on these two occasions is not a loss for us.

But it is also not a discouragement for us to continue to strengthen our state.

We are doing this because, above all, it is on our own interest, in our own benefit.

We have also faced the open wounds from our painful past.

I have nominated the Preparatory team for the Establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I have awarded Mrs. Vasfije Krasniqi-Goodman for the courage to speak openly and to seek justice for herself and thousands of other victims of sexual violence exercised by the Serbian police and military forces during the Kosovo war.

I felt proud especially with the achievements of our artists and athletes.

Like any other citizen of Kosovo I am proud of the achievements of our singers in the world, with the achievements of painters and architects.

I’m proud of the achievements of our judoka.

With the achievements of our soccer players.

There list has become long to name them one by one.

As President I was pleased to decree the package of laws on the reform in the justice system.

From the first day in the Office of the President, I have been committed to support the strengthening of justice as much as possible.

This package which includes changes to the Criminal Code, the Law on Courts, the Disciplinary Responsibility of Judges and Prosecutors, the Law on Extended Competencies for the Confiscation of Wealth and other laws that will further strengthen our justice system.

But, ladies and gentlemen,

I felt particularly happy and proud that three laws have been brought to me for enactment, which opens the path for the Kosovo Security Force to become the army of Kosovo.

I have often felt lonely in my commitment to the establishment of the Kosovo army.

But, I am happy that finally the entire political spectrum of Kosovo has come together for this goal of transforming the KSF.

I say to the soldiers of the Kosovo Security Force that they have deserved this for a long time.

With their work, with their professionalism, they are soldiers of Kosovo for a long time.

The Kosovo Security Force will continue to remain a professional force of NATO standards, a multiethnic force, in service of all citizens and in service of peace in Kosovo, the region and beyond.

I also welcome the fact that Kosovo’s political spectrum has started to come together on immediate challenges and opportunities for our country.

In the first place, I am talking about the challenge of reaching a peaceful agreement with Serbia.

With Serbia we have a century of hostility.

We won the fight, albeit at a high price.

Now is the time to win peace with Serbia as well.

For ourselves and for the generations to come.

Therefore, I welcome the establishment of the Negotiation Team by the Assembly of Kosovo and the beginning of work for the agreement with Serbia.

This agreement must be final, inclusive, achieved in a peaceful and mediated process by the European Union and fully supported by the USA.

This agreement should bring to Kosovo the recognition from Serbia and membership in the United Nations.

Whereas, to the region and Europe it will bring lasting peace and stability.

Honourable members of parliament,

Two letters arrived at my office this month show that we are on the right path.

The letter from President Macron of France commends our commitment to peace and stability.

But even more powerful is the letter from President Trump, of our closest state.

We are grateful that in his letter President Tramp distinguishes Kosovo as a crucial partner for peace and development throughout the continent of Europe.

We must take the invitation of President Trump with the deepest seriousness when he says that “I urge you and the Kosovo leaders to seize this unique moment” and “to speak with a unified voice during the peace talks”.

We have the support of the greatest friend and the most powerful state, of the United States of America.

We have the support of the EU and its member states.

We have the support of the world to reach a peaceful, conclusive, and comprehensive agreement with Serbia.

To lose this opportunity, as President Trump says in his letter, would be a tragic setback and we would lose the chance unlikely to occur again soon.

Therefore today, as President of Kosovo, from the pulpit of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, on behalf of the citizens and the leadership of Kosovo, I confirm that Kosovo is ready for dialogue.

Kosovo vows to reach the final agreement with Serbia.

The leadership and citizens of Kosovo look forward to the blessing of this agreement at the White House, under your leadership President Trump.

Honourable members of parliament,

Dear citizens of Kosovo,

Happy end of the year celebrations, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Cheers!