Future diplomats wont have party memberships!
Ibrahim Gashi says the footnote wont obstruct new recognitions of Kosovo
Professor Ibrahim Gashi is a well-known political figure in Kosovo. He entered politics with political academic qualifications, and in Kosovos diplomacy he is MFAs second violin. He also has a dual role as he is not just Deputy Foreign Minister but also Deputy of Behgjet Pacollit in AKR, the leader who is bringing in new recognition for Kosovo.
In this interview, Ibrahim Gashi talks about the Kosovo Diplomatic Academy, and adds that the footnote will not obstruct new recognition of our state.
Bota sot: The Government has decided to found a Kosovo Diplomatic Academy. What is its role and why should Kosovo have such a diplomatic Academy?
I.Gashi: It has been an obligation for the Ministry to found this Academy since the approval of the Law on Foreign Service, but considering the cost, limited resources, and other priorities such as recognition, the founding of the Academy has been delayed until this time. But, we think this was the last moment to fulfill the legal obligations we have. In addition, we think that what was most important about founding this institution is that modern foreign policy cannot function without the components of study and research, without permanently building capacities of diplomatic staff. The Academys goal is to assist in drafting foreign policy and preparing staff to implement policy. MFA intends by creating this institution to bring a new spirit to foreign policy formation through a credible academic board, including important figures in diplomacy, professors of international relations, career ambassadors, civil society representatives etc. It is foreseen that the academy will be enriched with honorary members and those would be former foreign ministers of strong states.
Bota sot: MFA is founding an Academy for building diplomatic capacities, but it is also being accused that diplomatic representation is done by party militants?
I.Gashi: I dont agree with this claim because as you know there was a competition which is under review, in which 700 candidates competed, we followed legal procedures and furthermore, we involved academic and professional institutions to test their knowledge of international relations and other languages. In the past, the ministers cabinet created a commission and tested candidates that today are in diplomatic missions. To avoid political interference, the ministers cabinet and his deputy, are not included in this process. There are commissions in which the director of the relevant department participate, the director general and secretary of the ministry, and in addition, professional commissions comprised by UP professors and members of the British Council, who test foreign languages. After collecting points, again a commission is created which interviews the best and we aim to close this competition by respecting professional criteria. We are very committed to preventing any sort of influence on the recruitment of new staff in order to take the best, because we have observed that MFA and Kosovas diplomats in general lack human resources with solid preparation. The 700 people who competed include some with solid academic preparation and who studied outside the country. We hope they will be the potential candidates who will be chosen. In principle, we are committed to being outside of any party influence, since in the end diplomacy is not a job which every person can do.
Bota sot: Will they be accepted even if those candidates are not from the ranks of PDK or AKR?
I.Gashi: There is no discussion of selecting these candidates according to party criteria. I have never heard such talk, from my party which sent me here, or from the staff here, about people being selected on this criteria.
Bota sot: Mr. Gashi what is MFAs commitment or priority for this year toward the five EU states?
I.Gashi: We have a strategy to complete recognition and luckily, a large part has been successfully implemented during last year. Our most difficult terrain was Africa, and last year we received recognition from that area thanks to the efforts of Kosovos diplomacy, and especially Deputy Prime Minister Pacolli. This year there will be focus on the five EU countries which didnt recognize Kosovo. We cannot raise great hopes that there will be spectacular results to this end, but small movements will occur. Some of the five have softened their positions and we expect to have the votes of some of them for Kosovos membership in the EBRD. They will contribute indirectly recognizing Kosova by giving their vote. This is not our final goal. The final objective is for Kosovo to work closely with Brussels to start dialogue to initiate dialogue for visa liberalization, a feasibility study, signing an agreement for association and stabilization, which will soften this opposition in Brussels more. Our participation in regional initiatives will enable us to be more visible in these states. A small relaxation of relations with Serbia, for example, Rumania, Greece, Cyprus may have a direct effect on those who find it difficult to recognize Kosovo because of close relations with Serbia.
The footnote has relaxed relations with Serbia
Bota sot: Will the footnote obstruct recognition of Kosovo and what will MFA do to prove the opposite?
I.Gashi: We are working with different countries to align recognition positions. Mr. Pacolli and Mr. Hoxhaj are optimists that quickly there will be recognition and the argument raised that the footnote will obstruct recognition will swiftly be dismissed. I cannot say which countries it will be and when, because this process has to be protected from interference by Serbia everywhere, but very soon we will have recognition ... Kosovos inclusion in the European agenda will be a positive signal for countries that have not recognized Kosovo. The footnote has slightly relaxed Kosovos relations with Serbia, has built a new and almost contractual relations between Kosovo and the EU, and all are in favor of recognition.
Bota sot: In the eyes of the opposition and analysts, lobbying for Kosovo is seen more as a personal competition between Mr. Pacolli and Mr. Hoxha, than a shared institutional task.
I.Gashi: There is not the slightest divergence between the office of Pacolli and MFA, but only daily cooperation and information. Whenever Mr. Pacolli is outside the country, he is in contact by telephone with Minister Hoxhaj. Time after time, MFA and especially diplomatic missions offer all their logistics to facilitate the job being done by Mr. Pacolli. Everything is coordinated very well. Mr. Pacolli has an agenda he runs himself through his connections, but which is totally in the service of implementing the recognition strategy. Every initiative of Mr. Pacolli for lobbying is reported to the Government and Ministry. Instead of the rivalry which is artificially created, I say there is excellent cooperation because this is the character of the job, as duties are specific. MFA coordinates everyones work, assists those who work and are committed to lobbying and recognition. Never since MFA was created has such a great amount of lobbying been done.
Last year and this year started with great intensity and great work is being done on lobbying.