Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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Questions and answers of President Begaj during the press conference with the President of the Republic of Croatia

Question 1: Mr. President! A few days ago, you raised the concern for the Albanians of the Presevo Valley. Since 2004, they have been deported owing to an administrative order for “passivation of residence addresses”, which has led them to accuse Serbia of genocide. How exactly is the situation now, and have you requested that the Albanian government, as the chair of the Security Council, organise a round table on this issue, as it did with Ukraine?

President Begaj: In meetings with international partners, I have always brought up the rights of Albanians living in the Presevo Valley as part of my constitutional responsibility.

In my statement to the United Nations General Assembly, I expressed concern and judged that the same European principles and values that apply to Serbs in Kosovo should also apply to Albanians in the Presevo Valley.

Albanians in the Presevo Valley should and deserve to be treated following European norms.

It is concerning what you just said regarding the passivation of residence addresses. This great concern relates to an administrative order regarding population registration and elections that deregisters Albanians and removes their every other right, including their right to receive medical treatment and necessary documents they need.

It has been noted that, in addition to the passivation of addresses in that region, there needs to be more economic initiative and financial investments, university diplomas are not recognised, and there are marked health service and education deficiencies.

The Albanian country has raised their concern on this issue in every bilateral and international meeting. Representatives of the Presevomunicipality have met with our ambassador to the United Nations.

In addition, I have met all the political party representatives and the Albanian National Council President and have become acquainted with their concerns, which I have raised in every meeting.

I ought to point out that the passivation of addresses has also become a topic of discussion in the Council of Europe, where a resolution has been issued. Based on this resolution, it has been marked as a violation of human rights in Serbia’s Progress Report.

The Helsinki Committee in Serbia have admitted that human rights violations have been violated.

In meetings with senators and members of Congress in the United States of America, the Albanian diaspora addressed the concern aboutthe depopulation of that area and about this type of practice, which violates every fundamental human right.

In 2024, as a member of the Council for the Protection of Human Rights, I believe Albania will be a powerful voice to protect this right of Albanians who, as I stated previously, should and deserve to live by European standards.

Question 2.: What are your thoughts on the possible solutions for de-escalating the situation in Kosovo? Is the establishment of the Association of Serbian Municipalities a viable solution? What is your point of view?

President Begaj: During my first year as President of Albania, I have dealt with events in the north of Kosovo. I stated my position in an earlier status: “The escalation situation should not continue to de-escalate”.

The de-escalation you mentioned is what both countries should do. To maintain peace and ensure security in our region, both countries should take steps toward de-escalating the situation in the northern part of Kosovo.

I believe that dialogue is the most effective way toward achievingreconciliation of relations between the two states, as well as final recognition of Kosovo and, without a doubt, respecting minorities under the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo.

Furthermore, I admit that any agreement signed in Brussels, such as the one recently agreed with the Annexes of the Ohrid agreement, must be executed by both countries.

For us, the dialogue and implementation of the European Plan presented with the annexes in Ohrid is the solution for the north of Kosovo and the overall Kosovo-Serbia relationship.