Augusto Santos Silva: Portugal’s vision for Kosovo is very clear

“Portugal has always played an important role for Kosovo both before and after the independence of our country and we can never forget when it recognized the independence of our country, which happened at a crucial moment for us” – the President of Republic of Kosovo, Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu said during a meeting today wit Mr. Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of Defense of Portugal.

“There were some positive developments in Kosovo following independence. The most important thing is that bad prognoses of those who were against independence did not come true. On the contrary, Kosovo has, during all this time, shown a high-level responsibility and has become an important factor of peace and stability in the region” – President Sejdiu added.

Recalling the fact that the Republic of Kosovo has been recognized as an independent and sovereign country by 63 countries around the world so far, President Sejdiu urged the Portuguese Minister to exert his influence in helping ensure further recognition of Kosovo by as many countries as possible.

With regard to KFOR downsizing, President Sejdiu reaffirmed his and our country’s institutions’ position that downsizing should take place in line with the needs and developments in Kosovo and in parallel with building its security capacities.

In this context, he called for a refraining from unilateral announcements of NATO troops’ withdrawals from Kosovo, as he maintained that the KFOR mission in Kosovo was and should remain unified.

On the other hand, the Portuguese Minister of Defense, Mr. Augusto Santos Silva, said that Portugal’s vision for Kosovo is very clear: that Kosovo has a European perspective and must be integrated into the European Union and NATO like other countries of the Western Balkan.

“Portugal is committed to stability and security in Kosovo and there will be no reduction of its troops in Kosovo in months to come” – Minister Augusto Santos Silva affirmed, adding that the contingent of Portuguese troops within KFOR represents Portugal’s largest military mission abroad. He maintained that this indicates Portugal’s great commitment to Kosovo and to its security and future in the Euro-Atlantic community.