President Thaçi in Bulgaria: We need to build trust and cooperate; animosities between the peoples of our region have been overcome

Sofia, June 1st, 2016 – President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, is participating at the summit of the South-East European Process (SEECP) in Bulgaria, which this year was the chair of this important forum for our region.

Under the motto “SEECP – key to regional cooperation over the past 20 years”, the Bulgarian state is concluding its term as the chair of the process it has initiated in 1996.

As regards this summit, attended by six heads of states of Southeast Europe, President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, said that it is a very important event to discuss the next steps for the region in the context of regional integration and integration into EU and NATO, particularly in these challenging times for the region and the EU.

“We are meeting at a crucial moment for the region, at the time when we need to take other constructive steps towards our integration. Communication between the parties in the region is no longer an issue. Meetings, conversations, dialogue between everyone in the region are now just normal. It is time to build trust between us, between our peoples and countries. It is up to as political leaders to prove that we have overcome the animosities of the past century and that we are committed to build a future in peace, stability and friendship. Forums such as SEECP are platforms where we commit to cooperate with each other, to support each other sincerely, but also the entire region in building a better future for all. By building cooperation and friendship, we build the trust that is reflected in all our societies”, President Thaçi said.

Referring to the participants at the summit, he said that our policies, our actions are not only local, but also regional, affecting the entire region, for better or for worse.

President Thaçi said that reconciliation is the first mechanism that brings trust between nations.

“After the beginning of the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia we have witnessed, after many decades, the first visits of Albania’s leaders to Serbia and Serbian leaders to Albania. Thus, our actions, our positive steps have a regional impact”, he said.

The second step, according to President Thaçi, is cooperation.

“We are improving road infrastructure by building highways and railways, we are cooperating in the energy and telecommunications sectors, we have greater trade with each other. With the improved infrastructure we will be closer to each other and we will get to know one another better. But besides cooperation for our development, it is essential to cooperate in facing the challenges and threats to our region. The wave of immigrants, radicalism and extremism affect all of us. None of us are less affected or less threatened. So the cooperation between us, in all sectors, is not only a desire, but it is indispensable”, President Thaçi said.

At the end of his speech, President Thaçi said that we have the best roadmap for our future, adding that the forums such as SEECP are mechanisms that serve to assess and elaborate more on this roadmap. 

“It is our duty as political leaders to offer examples by building friendship, cooperation, reconciliation and trust”, he said.

SEECP priorities under the chairmanship of Bulgaria were largely policies on migration and dealing with the wave of refugees, freedom of the press and freedom of speech, as well as those related to the development of communications and energy interconnection, which require active cooperation and joint action.

Besides President Thaçi, the summit is also attended by Albanian President Bujar Nishani, President of Moldova Nicolae Timofti, chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic, and Macedonia’s President Gjorge Ivanov.

Also, participating at the summit are the Romanian Prime Minister, Dacian Ciolos, Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia, Karl Erjavec, and the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Tugrul Turkes, while other countries of Southeast Europe are represented by their foreign ministers.

The summit will conclude with the approval of the joint declaration on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the SEECP, to reflect its achievements over the past two decades and special attention will be paid to the joint actions for the future development of Southeast Europe.