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Minister Hoxhaj: States and borders, closed chapters in the Balkans

Prishtina, 3 July 2011 – The daily Bulgarian newspaper, “Dnevnik” and Sofia News Agency “Novinite” published two exclusive interviews with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj.

In these two long interviews, Minister Hoxhaj talked about recent developments in and about Kosovo, and the state’s progress in internal state-building, continually strengthening its international subjectivity and advancing Kosovo’s integration in Euro-Atlantic mechanisms.

In an interview for “Dnevnik” the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo initially expressed the commitment of the Republic of Kosovo to strengthening relations with countries of the region, including Bulgaria, especially in advancing cooperation in the economy, education, trade and culture.

Hoxhaj said that for Kosovo what Bulgaria has done in the past to join the EU is important, adding that Bulgaria is an important example for Kosovo’s preparation for EU integration.
Regarding Kosovo’s integration prospects, Hoxhaj said that at first, Kosovo must receive a roadmap for visa liberalization in order to start fulfilling the criteria for this process.

“Second, it is very important that we have contractual relations with the European Commission, because in this manner we can receive support for economic and trading development”, said Hoxhaj, adding that now necessary steps must be taken in accordance with the seven measures proposed by the EC in 2009, with regard to Kosovo’s European future.

With regard to the process of normalizing Kosovo’s relations with Serbia, Hoxhaj said that Serbia must start to accept the reality that Kosovo is an independent country. “It is very important to have normal relations and not to use words that Belgrade uses sometimes. To avoid offers coming from Boris Tadić, relating to the partition of Kosovo’s territory, to create greater Serbian or Albanian mono-ethnic states in the region. It is truly important that this rhetoric is forgotten”, said Minister Hoxhaj.

In an interview for “Dnevnik”, Hoxhaj reconfirmed the general aspiration of Kosovo’s citizens to integrate in European mechanisms, arguing that Kosovo’s non-recognition by five EU states is linked to their internal politics.

In this interview, Hoxhaj talked about Kosovo’s economic development prospects, emphasizing the goal of the Kosovo Government in the future to invest in the sectors of energy, agriculture and mines, creating a service based economy and qualifying people for the job market. 

In an interview for the Sofia News Agency, “Novinite”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Enver Hoxhaj said that Kosovo and Bulgaria in the future expect to sign various agreements which will be used to promote closer relations not just between the two governments and states, but also between our two societies and peoples.

With regard to improving economic exchange between the two countries, Minister Hoxhaj said that the first step to be taken is signing various agreements supporting businessmen in Bulgaria and Kosovo.

In this interview, Minister Hoxhaj talked about international processes regarding Kosovo, Serbia’s anti-European ideas for changing borders or creating mono-ethnic states, minorities in Kosovo and issues linked to the process of Kosovo’s recognition, especially by the five EU states that have still not taken such a decision.

Referring to Belgrade’s ideas for Kosovo’s partition, Minister Hoxhaj said that Kosovo is the seventh independent state produced by the disentegration of the former Yugoslavia. “This means that the issue of borders, states and territories in the region in a closed chapter. We will never accept ideas for ethnic and territorial partition because these ideas will create instability, will produce violence and will set the entire region back by 20 years”, said Hoxhaj.

With regard to ideas for creating large national states in the region, Minister Hoxhaj also said that it is an anti-European vision to promote the concept of mono-ethnic states, expressing his full conviction of the people of Kosovo for the creation of a civil state, in accordance with the Kosovo Constitution and the Ahtisaari Plan. 

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