Presidents Sejdiu, Topi, Ivanov and Vujanović held a press conference after the meeting in Vlora

The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu, the President of the Republic of Albania, Bamir Topi, the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanović and the President of Macedonia, Gjorgje Ivanov, held a joint press conference at the end of their two-day meeting in Vlora. Having commended President Topi’s initiative to organise this very important meeting, President Sejdiu said that the four presidents had a wonderful chance to communicate with each other.

“Kosovo is a new country, recognised by 60 countries of the world. I expressed my consideration for the recognitions announced by the neighbouring countries. Of course this is a new era of quality interstate relations, and the appropriate actions that were undertaken so far contribute to a better future and prevent what have so far been detrimental consequences to our historic developments” – President Sejdiu pointed out.

He said that the meetings of this type “represent significant historic milestones that unite our peoples and our countries and help them meet their joint destinies, overcome difficult situations and foster good relations in practical terms. He also said that our citizens are moving forward, and our states have recognised each other.

“We share the vision of moving forward towards processes of integration into Euro-Atlantic community. We have mutual friends and this is a sublime feeling that we share, but this also implies a joint obligation to meet the expectations of our citizens and, practically, set our pace in ensuring a better life for all our citizens, by providing for economic cooperation, cultural exchanges, sports competitions and the exchange of best practices in the achievements that we have made so far” – President Sejdiu pointed out.

“We highly praise Republic of Albania’s accession to NATO and its application to become a member of the European Union. We also acknowledge the achievements of Montenegro and Macedonia in meeting crucial requirements for integration and we all share the eagerness to move faster towards these processes” – he affirmed.

It is true that difficulties in terms of integration into the European Union are anticipated, but it is also true that our countries have made some positive movements to ensure that we will soon be there. We consider that it is very good that many countries of the region are there, but, whether we like it or not, the region’s map of integration can not be left incomplete” – he pointed out.

“We are living in a new era; a new era of joint contributions to peace and stability; an era of good relations and perspectives” – President Sejdiu announced.

Speaking as a host, the President of the Republic of Albania, Bamir Topi, said that, in the spirit of Euro-Atlantic integrations, we want to give precedence to the free movement of citizens, businesses and all other entities in our countries.

“Together we tackled important questions that relate to the current state of affairs in our countries. We discussed new positive developments in the Western Balkan. We also talked about our common aspiration to get integrated into Euro-Atlantic community and about the need to strengthen the political dialogue between us, now that we bear witness of a new geopolitical situation in the region. The positive political dialogue revealed the need to boost the economic cooperation between our countries” – Mr. Topi said speaking about the meeting between the four presidents.
In general terms, we are implementing concrete projects” – President Topi said, adding that the time has come for a new diplomacy in the region, for a fine-tuning of interests of our countries, for a joint energy system in the region and for the development of a reciprocal tourism.

Recalling that Albania provides all the countries of the region with access to its major ports, Mr. Topi said that the meetings also discussed the creation of a positive environment for all the foreign investors interested to invest in the region.

I wish this meeting will be followed by other meetings that will be hosted by each country in sequence” – he said.

On the other hand, the President of Macedonia, Gjorgje Ivanov, said that the meeting was a good opportunity to exchange their viewpoints regarding the future cooperation in the region.

He said that, together with President Topi, President Sejdiu and President Vujanović, they have identified the integration into NATO – of which Albania is a member – as one of their mutual objectives.

Starting with the joint objectives for getting integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community, President Ivanov said that, after a while, the region is starting to set its common principles and values. “The region is already conveying a positive message. What was unimaginable to our parents is becoming a reality for our future generations – living in a better world” – he said, adding that the communication between them indicates that they have overcome the communication barriers that used to exist in the past.

“We found that our strategic objective is to get integrated into Euro-Atlantic community and to ensure that our countries will succeed in accomplishing this objective. We also expressed our commitment to exchange our experiences in this direction. We underlined that there can be no united Europe without the countries of the Western Balkan and that integration into the EU is our strategic goal, but that the Union will be incomplete without the Western Balkan” – the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanović said.

He said that they have very good relations with Albania and Macedonia, that there no open issues between them and that communication between them is at the highest level.
Vujanović said that with the President of Kosovo Mr. Fatmir Sejdiu he talked about relations between the two countries following the recognition of independence of Kosovo by Montenegro, referring to a range of bilateral meetings.

He also said that there are two open issues between the two states, which he hopes will be resolved soon. He maintained that the first is the issue of the treatment of Montenegrin minority in Kosovo, and the second has to do with the return of the people displaced from Kosovo and currently living in Montenegro, who, he reminded, have expressed their wish to return to Kosovo.

Commenting on the two issues raised by Vujanović, President Sejdiu said. “I really appreciate all the discussions that we have had and our willingness to embark on processes that are beneficial to our countries and, of course, we talked with President Vujanović about these two issues as well” – he said.

First, with regard to the process of returns, it should be mentioned that many Kosovo citizens have fallen victims within the country. A part of them have fled from the country because of difficult circumstances created by the war, and many of them fell preys themselves – they were killed and massacred” - President Sejdiu said.

“I also mentioned in today’s joint plenary that we don’t want anybody to experience something like that anymore and that we do have a principled position that favours the return of all the citizens of Kosovo. Despite many objective difficulties, the Government of Kosovo has allocated separate funds for this issue and a progress has been made. The Ministry of Returns is directly involved in this issue and is being led by a Serb community member. So, there is no dilemma. Only people who have done bed things in Kosovo may face dilemmas, and me and President Vujanović agreed that these people must be brought to justice” – he said further on.

On the other hand, speaking about the Montenegrin community, President Sejdiu said this community is present in Kosovo and that institutions of Kosovo are providing all the possible guarantees for their equal treatment in relation to all other Kosovo citizens.

“I have made an important step, which may have gone beyond the framework of Ahtisaari’s Proposal. I have included a Montenegrin representative in the Consultative Council for Communities. The council is an important body that addresses citizens’ concerns and interests and, of course, we cooperate closely with the council” – he said.

Answering the questions posed by journalists, presidents Sejdiu, Ivanov and Vujanović affirmed that there are good relations between the countries and that they are working in establishing diplomatic relations and in undertaking a series of actions that will boost the cooperation in every field.