Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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Questions and President Begaj’s answers during the press conference with the President of Estonia

Question no. 1: Mr. Begaj, does the situation in Kosovo and Serbia’s behavior undermine regional integrity and invalidate an initiative like the Open Balkans?

President Bajram Begaj: Thank you for the question. No one is content with situations or behaviors that do not serve the stability of the region, especially when the entire Western Balkans region is in the integration process.

While all of us were waiting for the negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia to move forward in the direction of implementing what was publicly agreed in Brussels and the annexes in Ohrid, the situation got tense.

A tension that has come because of the misuse of the Serbian population living in the north of Kosovo and the unacceptable use of violence by criminal groups, which have used violence against the citizens of Kosovo, against journalists and against the KFOR Peacekeeping Troops.

I share with you the concern that any behavior, any approach, any event that does not comply with the international norms and laws, naturally brings consequences.

Firstly, it brings consequences for the parties involved, it brings consequences for the region where these parties are located, and it also brings consequences for the international community, as is the concrete case – an unnecessary strain of energies of the international community and our strategic partners.

Therefore, I think the situation calls for a solution, which I believe will be considered by the leaders and by the two main actors.

As far as regional initiatives are concerned, every regional initiative is positive, I think it is necessary and important, not because I say so, but this is what our partners have said, that every regional initiative is important.

The benefits of such initiatives are tangible. I am referring to the Berlin Process that was just agreed upon by the six countries of the Western Balkans and the benefit is real, it is tangible by people.

Regarding the Open Balkans, this initiative is conceived as an economic initiative only, which would also bring benefits through the exchange of goods, the free movement of people, and the removal and reduction of some bureaucracies.

I stand by the opinion that I have previously spoken of, that if such an initiative is comprehensive and remains only in the economic framework and brings economic benefits to the people of the region, specifically to the populations of Kosovo and Albania, it is welcomed.

Every regional initiative is linked to our strategic objective. Our strategic objective is our integration into the European Union, and if we do not communicate with each other, if we do not cooperate with each other, how can we seek to cooperate with the entire European Union community? This is my answer.


Question no. 2: Mr. Begaj, the question I want to ask you has to do with the tensions in the north of Kosovo, have you had communications with your counterpart, President Vjosa Osmani, concerning this situation and possible consultations and what is your position regarding a possible solution of the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia and the calming of this situation in the north?

President Begaj: In fact, my communication with Kosovo is continuous.

Even in the specific case of the current situation, I have spoken with the highest authorities of Kosovo, as well as with the commander of KFOR and with several presidents of the region.

In my phone calls with the high authorities of Kosovo, I expressed Albania’s support for Kosovo and emphasized the necessity of implementing the agreement publicly agreed in Brussels and the annexes agreed in Ohrid.

We must focus on priorities and not on secondary things.

I reiterate that for me the sovereignty and integrity of the Republic of Kosovo is indisputable and the construction of democratic institutions there is also indispensable.

Concerning the unblock of the situation, I have made a fraternal appeal to Kosovo authorities that in this situation they must have patience, they must have prudence and they must listen and coordinate with our strategic partners.

Violence is not the solution, violent conflict should never be an option, the only option for a solution is dialogue.

Thank you!