PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO DR. FATMIR SEJDIU’S ADDRESS TO THE PARLIAMENT OF MALAWI

I feel more than privileged to have been given the opportunity to address You and the Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of your country and to thank you for a significant support that you have and are still providing to my country, Republic of Kosovo. It is a pleasure for me, upon an invitation that the honorable President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika has extended to me, to be staying for a visit to your country, which is justly called the Warm Heart of Africa.

Lilongwe, 18 June 2010

Your Excellency, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, President of Malawi,
Honorable Speaker of the Malawi National Assembly,
Honorable Members of the Assembly,
Honorable representatives of the Government of Malawi and Diplomatic Choir accredited in Lilongwe,

Dear participants:

I feel more than privileged to have been given the opportunity to address You and the Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of your country and to thank you for a significant support that you have and are still providing to my country, Republic of Kosovo. It is a pleasure for me, upon an invitation that the honorable President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika has extended to me, to be staying for a visit to your country, which is justly called the Warm Heart of Africa.

On behalf of the people and institutions of Republic of Kosovo, I want to express my special thanks and appreciation for your decision to recognize the independence of Republic of Kosovo on 18 December 2009. Malawi became the 64th country to recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo and this important fact makes us remain forever appreciative of your decision.
 
By recognizing the independence of our country, you have risen openly in support of the right of the people of Kosovo to live in freedom and in support of human freedoms. You have risen in support of the inalienable right of the peoples to decide on their own destiny and on the future of generations to come.
Therefore, I thank you all, dear representatives of the people of Malawi, and a special thanks goes to President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, who, as he had promised at a meeting we had at the United Nations in September 2009, has announced the recognition of our country.

This recognition is also particularly important to us because of the fact that it was the first to follow initial deliberations at the International Court of Justice on an advisory opinion about Kosovo’s independence. We believe that, soon, the Court will give an opinion in support of a legitimate act by the people of Kosovo, which will encourage countries that have hesitated so far to take a fair decision and recognize the independence of my country.

For the umpteenth time have we said that arguments pro Kosovo’s independence are irrefutable, because Kosovo’s independence was declared according to the political will of its people, expressed through its representatives on 18 February 2008.

I want to reiterate that Kosovo was one of the eight equal units of the former Yugoslav Federation, which has been dissolved following many bloody and tragic wars triggered by Serbia and its aggression, first in Slovenia and then in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Few days ago, the ICTY qualified the crime committed by the Serbian forces in Srebrenica as genocide and imposed capital punishments for atrocities committed upon the civilian population. I only want to remind you that it were the same military and paramilitary units that drenched Kosovo in blood in 1998 and 1999 and took the lives of more than 12.000 civilians, most of them elderly, women and children. 

Its history, the ordeals that it has suffered and its long quest for freedom, democracy and independence make Kosovo a sui-generis case, just like it was regarded by the former Finish President and Noble Prize Winner Martti Ahtisaari, the Special Envoy to the United Nations Secretary General assigned to chair an international process that aimed at reaching a final settlement to Kosovo’s status. Accordingly, any attempt to compare Kosovo with any other country in the world is ungrounded and unreasonable. Kosovo was a country that was invaded violently and that has gained its freedom following a long peaceful and armed resistance and owing to a crucial international assistance that was provided by world’s democracies that intervened in Kosovo to deliver its people from physical annihilation.

Republic of Kosovo is proving itself an important factor of peace and stability in the region, by contributing directly to fostering and strengthening cooperation between the countries of the region. In this context, it is my pleasure to inform you that my country maintains excellent relations with its immediate neighbors, with the Republic of Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia, as well as with other countries of the region, such as Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey and Bulgaria. We are building on these relations on daily basis in terms of economic cooperation, trade relations and free movement of our peoples. The future of the entire region is in the European Union, and Kosovo stands ready to work closely with its partners in the region on accomplishing this objective.

On the third year of its independence, the Republic of Kosovo has a clear vision for its future. A speedy integration into the European Union and NATO remains an overriding objective for the people and institutions of my country. I assure you that the people of Kosovo remain devoted servants to the realization of this long dream, which is now showing itself clearly on the horizon.

We have long lived under a brutal regime, we have experienced an unseen violence, with thousand civilian victims and towns and villages burned by invading forces. Despite that, we have found the strength to forgive and extend the hand of friendship to Serbia, for the sake of building a brighter future for our peoples.

Serbia has aspired to wipe out the people of Kosovo from the face of the earth and we will never forget this. Nevertheless, we are committed to ensure that this tragic part of our history only remains in our memories, so that we can move on towards prosperity and welfare for all the people in our country, in the region and worldwide.

Kosovo is an independent and democratic country that belongs to all its citizens who are equal under the law. Minority communities, which comprise less than 10% of the population, enjoy equal rights with the majority, which comprises more than 90% of the population. Kosovo is a multiethnic state, with a diversity of languages and ethnic religions and cultures. We cherish this diversity as the greatest asset of our country, so we want to protect earnestly, as we will protect tolerance, love and understanding for each other, an attribute that has distinguished us for centuries.

In conclusion, I invite you again to maintain your support for my country. Your support in the African continent and anywhere in the world would help my country gain a further international recognition, which is very important to us.

My visit to Malawi is a great opportunity for us to establish and expand cooperation between our two countries and peoples. I rest strongly confident that our two countries will have a chance to work together for the best of the people and to the benefit of peace and prosperity.

On this occasion, I want to stress that the spiritual leader of independence of Kosovo, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, the man who had invested all his energy and being in the wellbeing of the people, regardless of their ethnicity, language, religion or the like, used a maxim that has helped my country in many cases. He used to say that peoples ought to have many friends; that old friends must be kept and new ones be made. From now on, we will remain devoted to the friendship between our people and our countries and beyond.       

Once again, I assure you that the friendship between the people of Kosovo and the people of Malawi, the people of Warm Heart of Africa, is very important to us, to our hopes and to our belief that a much brighter future than the past awaits our peoples.

Thank you for your attention!
God Bless the Republic of Malawi and its marvelous people!