Deputy Minister Gashi: 2012, the year of the European Kosovo


Berlin, December 12, 2011, NOA/ Rid Bulku – Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Gashi, attended the two-day senior level conference for the western Balkans which is being organized for the fourth time with the initiative of Aspen Institute in Germany.Download picture in higher resolution.

This summit is organized with the goal of providing access on how to stabilize the western Balkans and how to integrate it in Euro-Atlantic structures, aiming to remain one of the most important challenges for the European and trans-Atlantic politics of security.

The host of the conference for the first day was the minister for European Affairs of the German Republic of Bavaria, Emilia Müller (CSU), News Agency reports..

At the conference there were participants from the southeast Europe, Germany, the European Union and the United states who exchanged views on the various current problems of their countries and the perspective of EU integrations and in particular by taking into account the current decisions of the European Union Council on the expansion policy.

Several foreign ministers, deputy ministers and senior diplomats from the Western Balkans countries, Germany and the U.S discussed on the topic of “Quo Vadis Western Balkans? Challenges for the EU and the U.S?”

This conference was also attended by Ibrahim Gashi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Selim Belortaja, Albania’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff, Representative of the Foreign Office for Southeast Europe, turkey and EFTA countries, Zoran Petrov, Deputy Minister of Macedonia’s Foreign Affairs, Philip T. Riker, U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Milan Rocen, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro, Ana Trisic-Babic, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia e Herzegovina, and Miroslav Lajçak, responsible for the western Balkans, and others.

Speaking of the achievements and for the European perspective, Deputy Minister Gashi underscored that the independent Kosovo has marked decisive progress in strengthening institutions by making visible advancements in all areas of life: democratic governance, the rule of law and economy based on market.

The Deputy Minister stated that the Republic of Kosovo has made significant progress in its efforts to become a part of the regional and international initiatives, which proves that the state of Kosovo is becoming a factor of peace and sustainability in the western Balkans.

Further, Gashi also spoke of the Kosovo’s integration process to the European Union as the best framework in ensuring peace, stability and long-term prosperity in the region. In this context, he asserted that in year 2011 Kosovo has made significant steps towards the European integration and is committed that year 2012 will be the year of the European Kosovo.

Addressing participants of this conference, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Gashi also spoke of the situation in the north of Kosovo on which event he underscored that such a tense situation continues to be tolerated since 1999 and this has happened against all democratic norms. Moreover, Gashi noted that the Government of Serbia has kept, controlled and sponsored an entirely illegal system of its structures. According to him, the Serbian community in this part of Kosovo has been held hostage of the Belgrade politics and of the criminal structures and that this approach of the official Belgrade represents a hindrance for the integration of the local population as well as for implementing the rule of law.

He emphasized that for the Government of Kosovo the implementation of Ahtisaari package remains the only solution for the north.

In his remarks, Deputy Minister Gashi also spoke of the efforts of the Government of Kosovo for peace, stability and for a European future for the entire region by emphasizing that Kosovo’s leadership has shown willingness for the technical dialogue with Serbia which is being conducted under EU supervision.

He also made clear the position of the Government of Kosovo for the dialogue that Kosovo is and should be a part of this dialogue.

“However, we should not understand dialogue only as a process – by simply attending in meetings – but having no concrete result. We are very interested in results and in implementation of agreements. But until now Serbia has not demonstrated readiness and willingness in implementing agreements reached by both parties in Brussels” he stated.

In speaking of the European perspective of the regional countries, Deputy Minister Gashi underscored that Kosovo supports the integration of the region in the EU, and in Serbia’s case he stated that this country has not yet fulfilled the conditions in obtaining the status of candidate. “Serbia needs to implement the agreements reached with Kosovo and help in the freedom of movement of EULEX and KFOR and to ultimately give up territorial claims against the state of Kosovo”.

In concluding his remarks, Deputy Minister Gashi underscored that the Government of Kosovo is determined in providing to all its citizens a European and a prospering future by always having Kosovo integration in Euro-Atlantic institutions as a strategic goal.

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