The President: Peace and stability are built with equality, dialogue and cooperationPrishtina, April 26, 2017 – The President of the country, Hashim Thaçi, participated today at the seminar organized by the Embassy of Finland with the topic “Kosovo and Finland Building Future Together: Peace mediation, Crisis management and the Ahtisaari Plan - The Way Forward”.
President Thaçi said that Kosovo knows well Finland’s role in building peace in the world and is forever grateful for the support it has received in the toughest but also crucial times for the peace and freedom of our country.
“Kosovo’s first experience of Finland’s commitment to peace begins with President Ahtisaari in 1999, when he negotiated with Milosevic the withdrawal of Serbian troops from Kosovo. For Kosovo this was not just the withdrawal of the troops, but it was the end of the murders, rapes, deportations. The end of the efforts to eradicate a whole population, its tracks, from the land where it had always lived. Whereas, for the world, this did not only symbolize the end of a war on Europe’s land, but the triumph of their commitment to equality and freedom for all people over discriminatory, exclusive, hegemonic and nationalist policies that had destroyed the Balkan region”, said President Thaçi
According to him, this was a battle between the values and principles of humanity and human rights on the one hand and the use of violence to build new political realities on the other hand.
“We had heard earlier about President Ahtisaari, in his work in the framework of the International Crisis Group when he proposed the idea of supervised independence for Kosovo. President Ahtisaari realized that peace and stability could not be built by violating the rights of a nation and ignoring the aspirations of that nation. On the contrary. He had realized that the key to peace is respecting the will of all parties, respecting the rights of all parties”, added President Thaçi.
The Head of State emphasized that President Ahtisaari had also played a role in the process of determining Kosovo’s political status.
“As the testament to his commitment even today, the document on which the state of Kosovo is built continues to be called the Ahtisaari Document”, said President Thaçi.
But according to him, thousands of Finns have contributed to the building of Kosovo.
“They have contributed to all international missions in Kosovo, civilian and military”, he said.
The President added that he was lucky to be part of the most important processes through which the Kosovo society has passed as a participant and as a leader.
“I am very familiar with discrimination, exclusion, war and I know the terrors it causes. I am familiar with the difficulty of building a war-torn society. I am very familiar with the traps left behind by war and conflict. I know very well how difficult it is to build peace, especially sustainable peace. But I also know how important peace and stability are. Therefore during the war I have been committed to preserve humanity and solidarity as much as possible. But, after the war, I have been committed to interrupt animosities and the building of bridges between peoples. For this I am engaged even today, as President of Kosovo”, he said.
President Thaçi also counted some of the steps he promotes as President of the country for building sustainable peace in Kosovo and the region.
“The first condition is justice. Victims, but also the generations to come need justice. But, justice also needs those on whose behalf crimes have been committed, to dissent from criminals. Therefore, since the beginning of my mandate as President I have appealed to the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor to be engaged even more in detecting and punishing those who committed war crimes in Kosovo”, stated President Thaçi.
“This is the first step towards closing the wounds of war”, he added.
President Thaçi said that the second step which has been undertaken is the establishment of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation in Kosovo.
“The chapter of the past must be closed and the new chapter must be opened, for a new future. Justice should be followed by truth and reconciliation”, said President Thaçi.
By learning about each other’s sufferings, President Thaçi stressed that all will realize even more the importance of building sustainable peace in Kosovo.
Another point to build sustainable peace in the region, according to President Thaçi, is regional cooperation and the building of good neighborly relations.
“I continue to promote the regional dialogue to build sustainable peace in the region. I’ve been sitting on a table with people who two decades ago sought to kill me just because I wanted equality for my people. It was not an easy decision, but it was the right decision”, added President Thaçi.
Since 2013, President Thaçi said that Kosovo has installed the dialogue process with Serbia that, despite the challenges and stagnations it experiences, has laid the principle of dialogue as an instrument for resolving any dispute and conflict that we may have with each other.
“After having gained freedom and having built the state, we must cement peace and equality in Kosovo and our region. The natural step for this is NATO and EU membership of our entire region”, said President Thaçi.
The President has added that it is a pleasure to see that other Western Balkan countries are also committed to their path to EU membership and rush to close chapters of negotiations with Brussels. But, according to him, all this result may be questioned if the European Union does not extend the hand to the Western Balkans.
“We are seeing an upsurge of populist, nationalist and radical ideologies, both in our region and in Europe”, stated President Thaçi.
For this, President Thaçi stressed that we still need vision and courage to reiterate that peace and stability in Europe and the world are built on equality, dialogue and cooperation.