The speech of the President of Kosova, Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu …

Your Excellency, Ambassador Verbeke, Honorable Members of the Delegation: I am very pleased to welcome you here today and to share with you our views on the current state of affairs in Kosovo as we are entering the final, decisive phase of the status process. On behalf of the Unity Team and on behalf of the people of Kosovo I wish to thank you for your visit. This mission, just like any other previous mission of the UN Security Council is much appreciated by the institutions and the people of Kosovo. After eight years of uncertainty and transitional UN administration, the time has come to solve the last outstanding issue related to the violent breakup of Yugoslavia.

Your Excellencies,The final status process has been at the front of everyone’s minds in Kosovo. There is no issue of greater importance to us as a Unity Team. The Security Council’s support for the Secretary General’s choice of the former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari to lead the process was a clear demonstration of the Council’s determination to the Kosovo status resolution.President Ahtisaari has conducted the status process with great care and respect for the views and needs of all participants. He and his team have been extremely thorough in allowing full discussion of the necessary issues, and in formulating a balanced and comprehensive package of proposals for the way forward. Working with the Special envoy, we have explored every avenue for compromise on all issues.The Kosovo Unity Team is supportive of the Ahtisaari proposals in full. There are certain compromises we have made during the talks in Vienna, in particular to provide extremely broad and far-reaching accommodations for our minority communities. We have done so and agreed to certain solutions for the sake of the future of Kosovo, the future of our people, but also for the sake of the future of a new relationship between Kosovo and Serbia as two equal, independent and sovereign states. The key rationale behind our agreement to some of the solutions was and remains our willingness and eagerness to accommodate some of the very specific concerns and grievances of the minority communities in Kosovo, the Serb community above all.Kosovo stands ready to accept and implement the Proposal in its entirety. This commitment has been endorsed formally by the Parliament of Kosovo on the 5th of April.After many rounds of difficult and intensive negotiations in Vienna, President Ahtisaari has produced a fair and very balanced package. It is regrettable no agreement was possible. President Ahtisaari and UNOSEK began their work in late 2005. Now we are in spring of 2007.Discussions on each and every issue, namely possibilities for an agreement have been exhausted. Kosovo has been waiting for the resolution of its final status for many years now. Our status has been unclear for many years, dating back to 1989 when Slobodan Milosevic illegally revoked Kosovo’s federal entity status in the former Yugoslavia, where it enjoyed the veto right.We have now spent the last eight years under UN administration, awaiting clarity about our future. The lack of clarity of status, namely the lack of a decision has gravely affected not only the political stability and our ability to take full ownership of our institutions, but it has also been very detrimental to the overall economic development and economic confidence and investment. Investors are reluctant to invest in a region with an unclear status. Also, because our status is unknown we cannot receive lending from the International Financial Institutions. Unemployment rate in my country is the highest in Europe. We need clarity to move forward.We believe that the only viable outcome of the Kosovo status process is independence, subject to an international supervision initially. After the violent collapse of Yugoslavia – a collapse that included ethnic cleansing, violence, refugees and repeated involvement of the UN Security Council – we see no other alternative to independence. The tragic history of the 1990s cannot be erased.Our vision is a democratic state, which will be a home equally to all its citizens, the majority Albanian community and other smaller communities, Serbs, Turks, Bosnians, Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians. It is with the greatest care and attention that we will observe the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural character of Kosovo.Honorable Members of the Council,The Unity Team and the institutions of Kosovo are determined to build a country which will base its future on full respect for the rights of each and every community, on a pluralist democracy, free market economy, free media, a country which will fully honor the human rights and freedoms.Once internationally recognized as an independent state, Kosovo is determined to start a swift process of establishing close relationship with the neighboring countries, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, and we hope with Serbia too, very soon. Kosovo claims no territory beyond its borders and will entertain no claim on its own territory. Kosovo looks forward to assuming an active role in regional and wider international co-operation to fight organized crime and terrorism. Economic stagnation in all countries of the region remains a matter of most serious concern. Therefore, Kosovo is very supportive of regional co-operation through bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements in the field of economy.Kosovo will seek full integration into international community, through membership in the international political and financial institutions and organizations. Ultimately, Kosovo’s objective is full membership in the European Union.We also will seek membership in NATO, an organization that can help provide security for all the countries of southeast Europe.I wish to once again underline Kosovo’s commitment and readiness to work closely after status with the international civilian representative that Special Envoy Ahtisaari has proposed. As you already know we have invited and we will welcome a swift deployment of this presence after independence as well as the continued military presence to help provide for the security of all the people of Kosovo.Your Excellencies:Eight years after the war, UNMIK and Kosovo have made significant progress in the reconstruction and economic recovery, as well as in establishment of democratic institutions. We would have not been able to achieve that without your comprehensive support.I wish to express my gratitude to the members of the UN Security Council, as well as to many other countries around the globe for the support and aid offered to the post-war Kosovo. We look forward to working with you to ensure a prompt resolution of the Kosovo status question and full endorsement of the UN special Envoy’s recommendations.Thank You.

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