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NEW OFFENSIVE

"We will have a new lobbying offensive in October and November. We will visit many other countries that have not yet recognized the Republic of Kosovo. We will participate in many international forums and conferences in an attempt to increase the number of recognitions, namely to strengthen the international subjectivity of Kosovo,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj. He announced that new recognitions will come from Islamic countries, Asia, Africa and South America in the months to come.

Enver Hoxhaj gives interview to “Epoka e Re”

Prishtina, 30 September – The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj, announced that during the months of October and November there will be a new lobbying offensive by the Kosovo diplomacy in the countries that have not yet recognized the state of Kosovo.

In an interview for “Epoka e Re” upon his return from a visit to the United States of America, Minister Hoxhaj said that he has received assurances for new recognitions of the state of Kosovo. “Our meetings have covered a wide political geography including states from Africa, South America, Middle East, Islamic countries and Asia. All these countries have expressed their understanding and good will and some of them will in a near future decide to recognize the Republic of Kosovo,” said Hoxhaj adding that these states are going to make public their recognition of Kosovo. Hoxhaj stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is engaged in a very dynamic process to enhance diplomatic relations with the countries that have recognized the state of Kosovo, and said that there is an ongoing detailed analysis as to which countries to establish diplomatic relations with in the coming months. 
Minister Hoxhaj also spoke about the technical dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. He considered the withdrawal of the Serbian delegation from the technical dialogue as a typical proof that the Serbian politics has not changed in the Balkans over the last 20 years. Hoxhaj calls on the international community to use a stricter language and stance towards the unconstructive approach that Serbia is taking in relation to the technical dialogue process.
Hoxhaj denied the speculation that this dialogue will gradually turn into a political dialogue. The Kosovo chief diplomat said that this dialogue has started in compliance with the UN Resolution and that its nature is technical. “The dialogue has started as technical and will remain as such. Anyone referring to it as otherwise is in reality not talking based on facts,” said Hoxhaj. 

"Epoka e re": Mr. Hoxhaj you are just back from a visit to New York together with the President, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Pacolli. How successful was this visit for the state of Kosovo? 

Hoxhaj: It has been a very important visit for the state of Kosovo. During this visit, the President of the country, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Pacolli and I have all had very busy agendas. We met with the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and we briefed him on the state building process of Kosovo, on the political stability prevailing in Kosovo, on the situation created in the north as a consequence of a direct intrusion by Serbia through illegal and criminal structures in that part of the country and on the determination of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo to stretch its sovereignty over the entire territory of Kosovo. 
We also had a very important meeting with the US Secretary of State, Madame Clinton whom we informed about the relevant political, economic and state building processes in Kosovo. During the visit we also had opportunities to meet with many other presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers of states that have recognized the Republic of Kosovo. While our focus was to meet with as many delegations as possible of the countries that have not yet recognized the Republic of Kosovo. Our meetings have covered a wide political geography including states from Africa, South America, Middle East, Islamic countries and Asia. All these countries have expressed their understanding and good will and some of them will in a near future decide to recognize the Republic of Kosovo. 

"Epoka e re": Meaning that there is movement in terms of new recognitions? 

Hoxhaj: I think that by the end of the year some states will make their recognition public. We have clear confirmation that some of these countries are in the process of recognizing the state of Kosovo. So, there are some countries from the Islamic states, Asia, Africa and South America that will recognize the state of Kosovo in the months to come. I believe that by the end of this year they will make their recognition decisions public. We are certain that they are already in the process of deciding. 

"Epoka e re": Can we expect the number of recognitions to reach 100 by the end of the year? 

Hoxhaj: Since ever I took this post, I have never preferred putting the recognition topic in a debate over numbers. Since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated the approval by the Government of Kosovo of the strategy to conclude the process of international recognition for the Republic of Kosovo, we have been working intensively. We have been lobbying at every corner of the world. We have visited all the potential states that have been ready to receive us. 
We will have a new lobbying offensive in October and November. We will visit many other countries that have not recognized the Republic of Kosovo. We will participate in many international forums and conferences in an attempt to increase the number of recognitions, namely to strengthen the international subjectivity of Kosovo. However, the debate over numbers has never been an issue. Our intention has always been and will continue to be to lobby incessantly and show the world that this state is moving ahead its European path. That is important because the Republic of Kosovo, in terms of its foreign policy, should further advance its special bonds with the US, and also work intensively on promoting a strategic partnership with the European Union. We will work intensively on building a strategic partnership with Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and other key European Union member states. At the same time we will make efforts to promote and present the Republic of Kosovo also on other parts of the world, the idea is to solidify what has been achieved so far and build on that a more enhanced political geography, which is already global and very favorable for Kosovo. 

"Epoka e re": New recognitions have been announced to be coming from Nigeria, Gabon and Ivory Coast, but the verbal notes have not yet arrived at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Where is the problem? 

Hoxhaj: Together with Mr. Pacolli we met with the President of Ivory Coast and he confirmed that he has taken a decision to recognize the state of Kosovo. As to when the verbal note will arrive that is a matter of legal procedures in that country. However, the information I got from Deputy Prime Minister Pacolli is that these countries have taken positive decisions for recognition. 

"Epoka e re": Mr. Hoxhaj when are you going to take new steps in establishing diplomatic relations with the countries that have recognized the Republic of Kosovo? 

Hoxhaj: So far, we have established diplomatic relations with over 40 states. We are engaged in a very dynamic process to enhance diplomatic relations. Some of our ambassadors in some countries have already established diplomatic relations.
Diplomatic relations can be established through singing of special acts or through an accreditation process of ambassadors or through other specific modalities that certain countries apply. 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made a detailed analysis as to which countries we should establish diplomatic relations with in the coming months. All our embassies and all the departments with the Ministry have received recommendations from me as Minister as to the way ahead. Of course that for our mission the establishment of diplomatic relations and promotion of genuine political relations is just the beginning. We are interested in having strong commercial, trade, cultural and educational cooperation with all the countries that have recognized the Republic of Kosovo. We are very interested in building strong institutional bonds between the people of Kosovo and many peoples and states. 

"Epoka e re": What support did you get from the US in terms of the course of the technical dialogue? The Serbian delegation did not participate in the last meeting. Do you think that Serbia is continuing its old politics? 

Hoxhaj: The dialogue should be seen from the perspective it started. In September last year there was a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly which called on both countries to engage in a technical dialogue to address practical problems of the everyday life and to help both countries approximate with their European perspective. 
The withdrawal of Serbia from the table of technical dialogue in the last meeting is typical proof that the Serbian politics in the Balkans has not changed over the last 20 years. The Serbian politics is still pursuing unlimited objectives, with infinite and unlimited ambitions. I think that it is a task of the international community to use a stricter language and stance towards the unconstructive approach that Serbia is taking in relation to the technical dialogue process.
What Mr. Cooper said about the failure of the last meeting of the dialogue was a clear mentioning of a clear address of responsibility for the failure to hold the dialogue – the Government of Serbia and Belgrade.
I think that the position of certain European states needs further shaping as the dialogue is the only way to solve some of the technical problems existing amongst both our independent states. What we have seen so far is that the Serbian delegation is insisting on discussions about customs and border crossing points 1 and 31. And in this effort they are not supported by anyone, Europeans or Americans. 

"Epoka e re": How determined are the institutions of Kosovo not to allow the technical dialogue turn into a political one. Serbia is insisting on discussions on the north and this will turn the dialogue into a political matter? 

Hoxhaj: Everyone who knows that the dialogue was launched in compliance with the UN Resolution knows that the mandate of this dialogue is technical, namely practical. It is a dialogue between two sovereign countries. The same resolution, in its first section, welcomes and accepts the decision of the International Court of Justice that the declaration of the independence of Kosovo was in line with the international law and that the independence of Kosovo is a fact. The independence of Kosovo should be seen in the process of the dissolution of former Yugoslavia and emerging of seven new states in the region, with Montenegro in 2006 and Kosovo in 2008 concluding the last chapter of the dissolution of former Yugoslavia and emerging of new states in this part of Europe. The dialogue started as technical and will remain as such. The mandate of this dialogue is in compliance with the United Nations Resolution. Anyone referring to it as otherwise is in reality not talking based on facts. 

"Epoka e re": So there will be no dialogue on the north issue? 

Hoxhaj: The situation created in the north should be seen from the right perspective. The illegal and criminal structures existing in the north are the remains of a situation that used to prevail in Kosovo and in the Balkans. And this situation was created by the Milosevic’s regime. The illegal and paramilitary structures in the north have remained there since when the Milosevic regime was in power. We are not backing off. After the decision of the 25th of July there have been other decisive steps for Kosovo to stretch its authority in the north of the country. I think that the Ahtisaari package should be implemented in the future as the only political framework for the integration of minorities, namely creation of a municipality in the northern Mitrovica so that the Serbian community there is allowed, as part of the Ahtisaari package, to participate in the institutional life of the Republic of Kosovo. This is the only way. The Ahtisaari plan is the final plan which enjoys strong international support; it was also approved by the UN Secretary General when it was drafted. We will continue to extend the authority of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo throughout all our territory. 

("Epoka e re")

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