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FRIENDS WERE INFORMED

Enver Hoxhaj speaks for “Epoka e re”
-USA and the EU were aware of Kosovo’s government actions in the north
-Serbia is exercising aggression in the north of the Republic of Kosovo Serbia
"We think that all relevant states, even the European Union and the USA which are for the dialogue process were informed on where we will move. It is understood that the government of the Republic of Kosovo represents a sovereign state”, stated Hoxhaj.

By Mal Qorraj & Lirim Geci

PRISHTINË, AUGUST 3, - The Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Enver Hoxhaj, says that the United States of America and the European Union have been informed of the actions of the government of the Republic of Kosovo in the north of the country. “We think that all relevant states, even the European Union and the USA which are for the dialogue process were informed on where we will move. It is understood that the government of the Republic of Kosovo represents a sovereign state”, stated Hoxhaj. In this interview for “Epoka e re”, Hoxhaj said that there is a full good understanding among all powerful states of the international community on the decision of the government of Kosovo in the north. He also stated that the Government of Kosovo will not withdraw at any circumstance from its decision in extending sovereignty in that part of Kosovo. “A new reality has been established in Kosovo after July 25th”, Hoxhaj said. Hoxhaj continued to say that the road blocks in the north from the part of the Serbian state represents nothing but aggression against the Republic of Kosovo. “Setting barricades, woods, mobilizing citizens, the direct intervention of the Serbian state, in my opinion are a part of an agenda which aim to destabilize the situation in the north, to exercise aggression from within the territory of Kosovo, to occupy and detach a part of Kosovo’s territory and lastly, to merge that with Serbia”, stated Hoxhaj.

"Epoka e re": Mr. Hoxhaj, what is the real assessment of the international community for the decision of the Government of Kosovo on the action in the north?

Hoxhaj: I can say the international community has full understanding regarding of the government’s decision for the measures of reciprocity and the actions in the north. All countries who have recognized Kosovo’s independence, but also those who haven’t, support the decision of the government of Kosovo as that is a legal and fair decision and in compliance with the Constitution of Kosovo.
The Republic of Kosovo is a sovereign and independent country. Its borders and unchangeable. The return of the border police and of the customs officers of the Republic of Kosovo in border crossings 1 and 31 is an action with political and legal support. This action of the Government of Kosovo should be seen as one of the most important actions in Kosovo’s history. In the long-term view, the government’s approach will positively impact the build-up of the state of Kosovo.

"Epoka e re": Were the friend countries informed of the Government’s decision to extend the authority in the north?

Hoxhaj: The action of the government should be viewed as a logical development of the decisions. 
The Republic of Kosovo participated in a process of a technical dialogue between the Republic of Kosovo and Serbia. During the six rounds of talks there have been issues raised on resolving the Kosovo customs seals, the issue of respecting our both economies and the issue of the free trade, which is one of the European standards. This decision of the Government of Kosovo has been a logical development, a natural one, but at the same time a development which is in compliance with the state dignity of the government of the Republic of Kosovo which has decided to apply measures of reciprocity, which is a continuity of our approach, and is not a sudden decision.  Besides, we think that all relevant states, even the European Union and the USA which are for the dialogue process were informed on where we will move. It is understood that the government of the Republic of Kosovo represents a sovereign state. The decisions and actions rendered are those of a sovereign state. In this context, I can say that there is a full understanding, among all powerful nations of the international community, of the decision of a government of a sovereign state as the Republic of Kosovo is.

"Epoka e re": So, the USA was also informed?

Hoxhaj: Yes, USA as well.

"Epoka e re": But why don’t we have a powerful support from the EU on this case?  

Hoxhaj: I think that the European Union member states, and the EU political representatives, have the same approach as those of the USA. If we would refer to the last visit in Pristina of Mr. Cooper and his statements that there is a new situation after July 25 and there will not be a return to a situation prior to that of July 25, then we can say that there is no difference between any state and neither between the EU and the USA regarding the government’s decision. We no longer have to talk much about the background of the decision. We need to understand the decision and the situation in the north from another perspective. The setting on fire of border crossing 1 and the recent developments in the Republic of Kosovo during the last 10 days and the presence of the special representative of President Tadiq confirm that what Serbia has been declaring during the last six months. The open political and public agenda of Serbia, expressed even in diplomatic areas, in the western press consists in the secession of the northern part of Kosovo’s territory. Therefore, the debate in Kosovo cannot be focused in the technical area, of what is happening in border crossing 1 and 31. Setting barricades, woods, mobilizing citizens, the direct intervention of the Serbian state, in my opinion are a part of an agenda which aim to destabilize the situation in the north, to exercise aggression from within the territory of Kosovo, to occupy and detach a part of Kosovo’s territory and lastly, to merge that with Serbia. Therefore, the situation in the north must be understood politically. And the responsibility of what is happening in the north belongs to president Tadiq and his organizers, Borislav Stefanoviq and Goran Bogdanoviq. So, all violence in the north has been created by the Serbian government itself. We have expressed this position to all representatives of the EU member states.

"Epoka e re":  Do you think that this was exactly the right time that the Government takes this action in the north?

Hoxhaj: We’re late by 12 years in acting in the north. We have been late there especially in the last three years of the declaration of Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state. From the part of our international friends, both those who have recognized and who haven’t recognized our state, the decision of the government of the Republic of Kosovo should be seen as a reaction of a sovereign state which occurred in full compliance with the Constitutions and the laws if force. History would never forgive to the leaders of Kosovo if it would act differently to this situation. The government of Kosovo and Prime Minister Thaçi, who name embodies a powerful leader, have made these decision which are of historic nature and these decision will be made more clear at a later period rather than right now.

"Epoka e re": Can this situation created cause heavy consequences?

Hoxhaj: In compliance of the meeting that the Prime Minister has with mediator Cooper, the government of Kosovo is ready to calm down the situation, the calm tensions in people’s heads, so, in having calm and stability in Kosovo’s north, but it will not allow in any way that the territorial integrity of Kosovo be violated as they have been violated in the last 12 years. We will not accept in any way that the Republic of Kosovo be partitioned. In this regard, we have to work with the EU countries, the US and NATO member states as well as with the UN nations.

"Epoka e re": Can the recent actions of the Serbian government towards Kosovo be considered as aggression? 

Hoxhaj: The fact that we’ve recently seen Stefanoviq negatiating and speaking on behalf of Serbians and decides when to free or block the road speaks of nothing else but of aggression against the state of Kosovo. There is no form or circumstance when in an independent state, a representative of another state, as a special envoy of the president, interfere in the affairs of another state as Borislav Stefanoviq is doing. To me, the presence of Stefanoviq and his messages and the political activity within the territory of Kosovo are equal to the presence of Boris Tadiq as Stefanoviq is nothing else but his envoy.

"Epoka e re": Meaning, the government of Kosovo is determined not to go back?

Hoxhaj: Things in the Republic of Kosovo have changed after July 25. A new reality is in place. This should be viewed not only in what is happening in 2011 but also what will be happening in years 2021, 2031 and further on. We are ready to pursue dialogue in resolving technical problems but we will not accept in any way that someone creates problems within the territory of Kosovo in the name of protecting the Serbian communities.

"Epoka e re": Do you have international pressure that the issue of Kosovo’s north be included in the agenda of the dialogue with Serbia?

Hoxhaj:  Absolutely not. The technical dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia is separated from the issue of the north. But what we need now is to calm down the situation in Kosovo’s north, opening of the barricades, Serbian officials not to visit Kosovo and them not projecting violence and bringing war-urging agenda. The government of Kosovo has been extremely serious and committed in the process of the technical dialogue by not seeing this dialogue as an instrument of tactical actions as the government of Serbia is seeing it and which often times withdraws from the dialogue and then again returns at the dialogue table.

"Epoka e re": Why are Kosovo institutions allowing Serbian officials to enter Kosovo? Why don’t they arrest them?

Hoxhaj: The government of Kosovo has made urgent steps in this direction. Ministers of the respective areas are very determined to arrest Serbian government representatives in that moment when they are found illegally in the territory of Kosovo.

"Epoka e re": When is it expected that the full authority of Kosovo institutions to be extended in the north? 

Hoxhaj: We’re working to calm down the situation in the north, in opening roads, Serbian officials not visiting Kosovo, and above all, to return to the technical dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. Normalizing the situation over there and the integration of the north should happen in full compliance with the Ahtisaari package and with the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo.

"Epoka e re": Do you consider that Serbia has not been serious in the technical dialogue with Kosovo?  

Hoxhaj: Serbia has not been serious and honest in the dialogue process from the very beginning, as the international community, the EU and the Republic of Kosovo has trusted. Serbia has viewed the dialogue as a technical process which would enable non-normalizing relations with Kosovo; not resolving concrete problem which are of concern for the citizens of both countries, but as a pre-condition,  on the pretence of good neighbouring relations between the two countries in order that it obtains the EU candidate status. However, the recent developments show that Serbia should once and for all understand that the fate of its citizens does not extend outside of the state borders, but they should focus in reforming their state and they should once and for all give an end to the agenda of a nation dominating over another nation.

Next week Hoxhaj begins with visits abroad

"Epoka e re": Mr. Hoxhaj, what is your lobbying agenda for the future?

Hoxhaj:
Next week I will be visiting some countries which have not yet recognized the independence of Kosovo. I am in the process of receiving confirmation regarding which countries I will be visiting. During the last days we are focused in presenting the situation on Kosovo in all relevant European centres. We are very interested to push even further the full process of Kosovo recognitions.
 
"Epoka e re": Are we expecting any new recognition?

Hoxhaj: In the days to come there will be positive news for the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo regarding recognitions.
 

La Serbie plus agressive envers le KosovoInterview du ministre Enver Hoxhaj pour "Epoken e Re"