PRESIDENT SEJDIUS ADDRESS AT THE SOLEMN SESSION MARKING THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF REPUBLIC OF KOSOVOHonorable Speaker of Parliament of Kosovo, Mr. Jakup Krasniqi, Honorable Prime Minister Thaçi, Honorable Members of Parliament and Ministers of Government of Kosovo, Honorable Head of EULEX, Mr. Yves de Kermabon, Honorable International Civilian Representative, Mr. Pieter Feith, Honorable Ambassadors based in Prishtinë, Honorable Commander of Kosovo Force, General Markus Bentler, Honorable representatives of Kosovo Security Force and Kosovo Police, Honorable members of the family of the historic President Rugova and families of martyrs that have fallen for freedom, Honorable representatives of educational, scientific, cultural and religious institutions of our country, Honorable media representatives, Dear citizens of Republic of Kosovo,
Two years ago, the elected representatives of the people of Kosovo declared the independence of Republic of Kosovo, which was a result of an engagement and sacrifices that many generations in Kosovo had made and of a great assistance provided by our international friends, the member countries of the North-Atlantic Treaty Alliance and other countries around the world.
In celebrating the second anniversary of the independence of our free country, today we proudly remember the ideator and architect of Republic of Kosovo, our historic leader Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, who revealed the truth about Kosovo around the main capital cities of the world: Washington, Brussels, London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Ankara and elsewhere.
Ibrahim Rugovas political philosophy and the completely unique spirit of humanity and peace that he has preached were something new to this part of Europe and world, in which the rhetoric of war and hatred had always prevailed. At a time when the Western Balkan was suffering ordeals and apocalyptic tragedies, his prudence and farsightedness raised the awareness of worlds democracies of the danger that Kosovo and its people were facing. This political philosophy and the war of the people of Kosovo for freedom, including the matchless example of sacrifice made by Jashari family in Prekaz, in Drenica, convinced the world about our righteous cause that was strongly supported by NATO, which, in spring 1999, embarked on a great campaign that aimed at saving the people of Kosovo from genocide.
Honorable Members of Parliament,
65 democracies around the world have recognized Kosovos independence. Our country has established bilateral relations with many countries of the world. We have opened 21 embassies and 10 consular missions in recognizing countries and we can say that, as a start, we have managed to create a solid diplomatic network, which is decently representing our country abroad.
Always in coordination with our friend countries, with the United States of America, the major powers of the European Union and other friend countries, we have strived for further recognition, so that Republic of Kosovo can obtain the place it deserves within the big family of free nations. To that effect, during these years, we have maintained a regular cooperation with our friends, we have lobbied in the countries that have not recognized the independence of Kosovo yet and we have urged our friend countries to exert their influence to support Kosovo in this important process.
We remain strongly confident that these efforts will bear fruit and we expect new recognitions in due course, especially following an opinion on the legality of declaration of Kosovos independence due to be issued by the International Court of Justice.
As you know, the ICJ has conducted a hearing on the legality of declaration of Kosovos independence last fall and our representatives have presented reliable and incontrovertible arguments in favor of Kosovos independence there. On this occasion, we express, one again, our gratitude to those countries that have filed their written statements and defended the right of the people of Kosovo to live in freedom and self-governance.
Honorable Members of Parliament,
During the two years of our functioning as a free state, we have managed to prove to the world that Kosovo has brought more peace and stability to the region. With its policies of neighborliness, Republic of Kosovo has not only managed to prove that it is an important factor of peace, but it has also served as a catalyst of good relations between the countries of the region. Fortunately, our policies have received a broad understanding on the part of our neighbors and now we have excellent relations with Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and other countries of the region, such as Croatia, Slovenia and Bulgaria. We are maintaining an active cooperation with Greece, though this country has not recognized the independence of Kosovo yet.
Serbia remains the only problem that we are facing in terms of foreign relations, as it is still conducting an aggressive politics against Kosovo. The official Belgrade is supporting the parallel structures operating in the north of our country, where still acts of a high-scale smuggling and financial crime are being committed. Serbia has invested hundreds and millions of euros to support these structures, which are keeping the Serb community living in this part of Kosovo as a hostage and preventing the members of this community from getting integrated into the institutional and social lives in Kosovo. We consider that a way out of this situation has to be found and that the people must enjoy their right to return to their homes, Serbs in the south, and Albanians and Bosnians and others in the north, where they have lived for centuries.
We have supported the strategy for the north that was developed by the Government of Kosovo and the International Civilian Office (ICO), which aims at reinstating order in this part of our country, where many individuals and gangs have been operating freely for many years now and who owe a lot to justice, because of the crimes that they have committed during wartime in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.
We have also expressed our full support to EULEX and its efforts to foster law and order in Kosovo, in a field where a lot remains to be done.
Kosovo is in need of an independent, professional, renewed and reformed judiciary. To achieve this, this system needs the unreserved support of our institutions and citizens, who should not hesitate to cooperate with our state law enforcement authorities, with Kosovo Police, courts and prosecutors offices. The state must function as a whole, as a unified structure, or else the people who dont favor law and order or, even worse, who want to rise above law, will feel free to carry out their illicit activities.
Struggle for a free and sound economy based on principles of a free market economy also represents a challenge in itself.
Honorable Members of Parliament,
Dear citizens of Republic of Kosovo,
The third year of independence finds us up against multiple challenges, but also with a clear vision for our future. The major objective of Republic of Kosovo is its speedy integration into the European Union and NATO. In order to accomplish this objective, we all need to remain committed to it, regardless of our current tasks or whereabouts. All the people of Kosovo are obliged to serve this purpose, be they in Kosovo or abroad. Accordingly, each of them must consider themselves as Kosovo ambassadors and must behave and act as representatives of Kosovo, wherever they are.
We are the youngest state in Europe and world. This is not an advantage. It is rather an obstacle in a bumpy road that entails our responsibility for the future of Kosovo. We must double our efforts in order to reach the growth-level of other countries; we must double our attention to meeting the requirements for integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. Therefore, we must all be aware that the world is keeping us under a close scrutiny and that our actions are being analyzed.
Today, on February 17, on this sacred day for our country, in my capacity as President and as a parent and citizen of our country, I call on you all to remember who we are and what we want to achieve. Kosovo is a small country and is facing many obstacles. It needs the extended hand of its friends, which, fortunately, was never missing. However, as citizens, as state institutions and people who know how to show their appreciation for their friends, we are obliged to behave as the time requires us to with an extraordinary courage and accountability.
We used to have a dream, a vision, and it was an independent Kosovo. Today, we have another dream, and this a Kosovo in the EU and NATO. Let us become humble servants to this dream, to this idea, so that our children and, then, their children may say: Listen! They, our parents, our grandparents, they had something worth living for and believing in.
It is not invasion or a difficult economic situation, but rather the absence of a dream and belief in it that puts a nations existence at stake. How many small nations have survived the storms of centuries and how many empires have vanished like they had never existed? It is not by its strength, but rather by judiciousness and credence of a nation that we measure its glory. We now how to be guided by these sublime human virtues and there is no reason for us to be afraid for the homeland that we are going to bequeath to our future generations.
By thanking you for your attention, I congratulate you all on the second anniversary of the independence of our Republic!
God Bless Republic of Kosovo and its marvelous citizens!
God Bless friends of Republic of Kosovo!