The speech by the President of the Republic of Slovenia at the formal sitting of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo
Priština, Kosovo, 13. 2. 2018 | press release, speech
During the state visit to the Republic of Kosovo, the President of the Republic of Slovenia will address the members of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo who gathered at a formal sitting.
Below is the speech by the President of the Republic of Slovenia. The spoken word applies.
"Dear Mr President,
Members of the Assembly,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have come to Kosovo as your friend. as the president of a state which has friendly relations with yours. I arrived on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the declaration of independence so that we could deepen these relations.
On the occasion of the jubilee of the Republic of Kosovo, please accept my sincere congratulations, the congratulations of the state I represent, and the best wishes of all our people for your successful future.
Slovenians and Kosovo Albanians understood and supported each other during our efforts to achieve independence for Slovenia and Kosovo. We sincerely supported each other, as we did not exercise our right to self-determination in a way that was directed against other nations. The establishment of our own states was justified by the commitment that our states would be democratic, governed by the rule of law, and fair to all our people: states that respect human dignity and human rights, including the rights of minorities.
As Slovenians and Kosovo Albanians established independent states, we as the majority assumed the inevitable responsibility of enabling the preservation and development of national minorities to the best of our abilities.
In this sense, I have come to Kosovo as a friend of Kosovo Albanians and Serbs, and of all other nations who live in Kosovo today. I take the liberty to assess that, from the aspect of domestic and foreign policy, it is crucial for Kosovo’s development that it facilitate the legal and political preservation and strengthening of national minorities.
In spite of certain problems, Slovenia is on course to arrange its relations with its neighbours after over 25 years since we established our own state. I understand the complexity of this task. Therefore, it is with great respect that I support the efforts of official Priština and Belgrade to gradually resolve open mutual issues through bilateral negotiations and with the support of the European Union.
I know from the Slovenian experience how important it is to respect agreements. Not only is it essential to solve problems, it is also essential to deepen trust and strengthen overall cooperation. As your friend, I take the liberty to try to convince you to keep working intensively on these bilateral negotiations and to fully respect agreements.
This is extremely important, not only for resolving issues between two neighbouring countries, but also for the political atmosphere in the entire region and the attitude of the European Union to its expansion to the Western Balkans.
You are familiar with the support provided by Slovenia and with my personal efforts to achieve peace, security and a Euro-Atlantic future for the states of the Western Balkans, including Kosovo.
I generally support the recently presented EU strategy to expand to the Western Balkans, including the requirement for candidate countries to resolve all border issues prior to expansion. This strategy has certain important ambiguities, which I have already pointed out to Brussels, but, basically, it seems sensible. Open bilateral issues, including issues concerning border disputes, must be resolved prior to accession to the EU.
I understand the complexity of the task Kosovo faces in this regard. Among other things, this concerns the diplomatic recognition of your state. As a friend, I would like to encourage you not to hesitate to resolve these issues. Political courage will be rewarded with your country’s future success, friendly relations with neighbours, and accession to the European Union and NATO. Slovenia will wholeheartedly support your efforts.
Slovenia strives to have friendly and exemplary relations with all states in the Western Balkans. I am personally involved in these efforts as co-chair of the Brdo-Brioni Initiative. I am grateful to your president and all heads of state in the region for their valued trust and cooperation.
We are all responsible, particularly heads of state in this part of Europe, for the peace, security and welfare of our nations and states. The responsibility of the European Union is also important, but we must be aware that, first and foremost, we ourselves are responsible for trust, good relations and mutual cooperation. It is a difficult, but also wonderful task, as the reward is our peoples’ hopes for the future and particularly a better future for their children.
Thank you for allowing me the great honour of addressing you. Let us nurture our friendship, encourage and support each other, and solve all problems of the modern world peacefully and with mutual respect.
Thank you for your valued attention."
Photo: Daniel Novaković