KOSOVO AND CROATIA EXPAND AREAS OF COOPERATION

Acting President of the Republic of Kosovo Dr. Jakup received today Mr. Davor Vidiš, Director of the Department for the South-East Europe under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia.

"Relations between Kosovo and Croatia are very good and these relations are improving day by day. We talked about the need for Kosovo institutions to learn from the experience that Croatia has gained on the path towards its integration into the European Union”, the Acting President of the Republic of Kosovo Dr. Jakup Krasniqi said at a press statement after the meeting.

"At the same time," he added, "we also talked about the experiences and practices that Croatia has gained and used during the talks with the Serbian side, as similar talks will take place between institutions of Kosovo and Republic of Serbia in the future."

"We showed our readiness to make sure that relations between Republic of Kosovo and Republic of Croatia improve in all areas of life, be they political, institutional or economic. We are aware that, in terms of economic development and opportunities, the Republic of Croatia has a great potential to invest in Kosovo, and we will provide room for investors from Croatia to invest in Kosovo. This will involve a boost in relations and cooperation between our two countries,” Mr. Krasniqi said.

On his part, the Director of the Department for Southeastern Europe under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia Mr. Davor Vidiš initially said he had an emotional connection with Kosovo, as he had directed the Croatian Office in our country between 2007 and 2008, when the Republic of Kosovo had declared independence and when the Republic of Croatia had recognized Kosovo.

Mr. Vidiš said he was in Kosovo with a delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Croatia to get acquainted with developments in our country, but also to convey experiences of Croatia and see which experiences that Croatia has gained on its road to European integration can help institutions of Kosovo.

"After Bosnia and Albania, Kosovo remains the only country out of the Schengen White List. We are here to see where you Croatia can help with lobbying to overcome this situation", Mr. Vidiš said.

"We are very interested to see Kosovo becoming a member and part of all regional initiatives, initiatives that cover this part of Europe", Mr. Vidiš said.

Asked about the need for the involvement of the United States, besides the European Union, in the announced talks between Kosovo and Serbia, the Acting President of the Republic of Kosovo, Dr. Jakup Krasniqi said: "We are aware that, according to the UN General Assembly Resolution, the European Union should facilitate the talks between Kosovo and Serbia, but we are also aware that, for these talks to be easier and more successful, the United States of America can provide a irreplaceable contribution. We consider that, in order for these talks to be easier and more reliable and more successful, representatives of both the European Union and the United States should be involved as intermediaries."

Z. Vidiš also spoke of anticipated talks between Kosovo and Serbia. "First of all, it is important to make sure that these talks begin, but, speaking from our experiences in relations with Serbia, bilateral talks are important in the end to resolve daily issues," he said.

"Our idea for stability in the entire the region is to make sure that the Euro-Atlantic integration is completed throughout the region. We would be happy if one day all the countries of this part of the world become members of the European Union and NATO", Mr. Vidiš said.

Asked to comment on a statement made by the Serbian Foreign Minister, who blames Kosovo for the failure to start negotiations, Mr. Krasniqi said Kosovo has never hampered negotiations and that it was rather Serbia that has done so.

"You know that Serbian representatives have left the meetings at which Kosovo representatives were in attendance at both regional and European levels”, Mr. Krasniqi said, adding that Kosovo was never against talks with the Serbian side.

"Kosovo has already been involved in talks with the Serbian side on the missing issue, civil registers and cadastral records, but these talks were more difficult in the past. We need to start, but we must start with these talks, which are easier. In a word, Kosovo was in no time and at no stage against talks with the Serbian side”, the Acting President of the Republic of Kosovo Dr. Jakup Krasniqi said.