Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci: Kosovo Will Join EU When All Western Balkan Nations Do
An exclusive interview of Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) and Novinite.bg with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo Hashim Thaci. Thaci was on a state visit in Bulgaria on June 18-19, 2012.
Bulgaria and Kosovo seem to enjoy very good relations. What is the reason for that? What is the foundation of these good relations?
The relations between Kosovo and Bulgaria are excellent. Bulgaria is one of the first states to recognize the independence of Kosovo, and we are thankful to both the Bulgarian state and the Bulgarian people. Today, we have perfect political relations. Kosovo continues to develop at an accelerated pace, and has already been recognized by 91 states.
I was invited here by the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov so that we could deepen the relations between our nations in all spheres, and on all levels. Kosovo is advancing along its European way of development, and it will be a member of the big European family – not unlike Bulgaria.
Is the real question "if" or "when" Serbia will recognize Kosovo?
Serbia will recognize the independence of Kosovo, and that is not just the only way, but also the right way. By delaying its recognition of Kosovo's independence, Serbia is actually doing harm to itself, and is also harming the peace and security of the region.
I work very hard for good neighborly relations between Kosovo and Serbia. The more Serbia delays its recognition of Kosovo, the more damage it does to itself.
Many see a problem of "Greater Albania" in the Balkans – with the Albanians as one nation living in many states. What is the solution to this problem from your point of view?
It hasn't been the Albanians' choice to live in several different states. On the one hand, this fate stems from history but on the other hand it is connected with the future.
We wish to live in a region with open borders, in good neighborly relations; we wish to live in a region with European values and on the European model. That is why both Kosovo and Albania will become part of the big European family and of NATO.
What is the solution to the ethnic problems in Macedonia? Do you see a future for Macedonia?
As I already mentioned, I see the future of Macedonia, too, in NATO and the EU. I have met with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski as well as with the ethnic Albanian leaders in Macedonia, and I see a desire for cooperation – a desire to create a Macedonia where everybody has equal rights regardless of whether they are Albanians or Macedonians.
The only solution for Macedonia, and the right one, is the application of the Ohrid Accord. The states of Kosovo and Macedonia have excellent relations, and work to develop it further on all levels. We espouse the same values – the EU values.
One of the crucial questions about the legitimacy of Kosovo goes back to the Kosovo Liberation Army. How do you respond to the claims that the Kosovo Liberation Army was a criminal or terrorist organization?
The Kosovo Liberation Army was the people of Kosovo. And we waged the war rightfully, respecting the European principles. We've earned the respect and support of Europe.
Our goals were liberation, a free country, and European integration. It is only natural that along our way towards freedom we encountered not only friends, but also enemies. That is why these accusations are wrong.
When do you expect to see Kosovo in the EU?
We are the youngest Europeans, to put it that way, and we work very hard to be part of the EU and NATO as soon as possible.
I see Kosovo joining the EU at the same time as other countries in the region of the Western Balkans.
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"Any country NOT recognised by Russia has to be both a real country and one to be praised.
Given that a majority of the members of the UN do recognise Kosovo, I'm afraid that it still being a part of Serbia is no more than wishful thinking - rather like still dreaming that Montenegro is....or perhaps that Tito will rise again? ;)"
91 out of 193 nations recognize Kosovo, that is just less than 50% so its no majority more like its a stalemate between those following the USA and this following Russia and China.
Unfortunately a country has to be recognized by both Russia and China because their acceptance is needed to join the UN so Kosovo can be praised all it wants but it can't be a UN member therefore it will be missing a part of being a real country.
How do you know Tito will not rise again, I didn't know you could tell the future. During Yeltsin's times nobody thought an anti-western (Soviet style) leader like Putin would ever be in power of Russia again but yet here we are. Earlier during the decade we may have laughed at the thought of Kosovo being independent but yet here we are so just saying you never know.
So, the "many EU countries..." have now become "a few brave countries" and your idea of "bravery" appears to be synonymous with "self-interest" - now why doesn't THAT surprise me?
But no-one can accuse you of lacking a sense of irony: "Serbia...offered law and order.." - that is a cracking joke!
Physician, heal thyself.....
It is obvious NATO (ie. the Americans) forced everyone against their will to recognize Kosovo. Try to find a Bulgarian who agrees to Kosovo as an idependant state, not many! A few brave countries, that see the problems with such divisions, as you pointed out from your list, were brave enough to stand against this decision. Serbia held good control of Kosovo, and offered law and order. Look what Kosovo is now.
"Many EU countries do not recognize Kosovo either...."
That's a new definition of "many" to me! We're talking about:
Cyprus (which doesn't want to do anything which could even slightly appear to legitimize the illegal occupation of part of itself by a foreign country)
Greece (which doesn't officially recognise Kososvo in support of Cyprus but has shown that it also supports Kosovo on the international stage)
Romania (friend of the Serbs - but their MEPs still voted for all EU members to recognise Kosovo just a couple of months ago)
Spain (won't recognise only "because it's against our own interests"="don't want those pesky Catalans and Basques to get any ideas")
Just why Kosovo "must be returned back to Serbian control" when Serbs seem keen on demonstrating that they are both unable to control themselves and regard genocide as a social tool defies logic, I'm afraid....
Many EU countries do not recognize Kosovo either, not only Russia. Kosovo never has been a country, and has no identity as a nation. It does not even have its own currency. Kosovo is a political orphan of NATO. It is the first time a country has been created from a Military organization. A very dangerous precedent. Kosovo must be returned back to Serbian control, as it will just remain in a no-mans land limbo for near future.
Any country NOT recognised by Russia has to be both a real country and one to be praised.
Given that a majority of the members of the UN do recognise Kosovo, I'm afraid that it still being a part of Serbia is no more than wishful thinking - rather like still dreaming that Montenegro is....or perhaps that Tito will rise again? ;)
Time to up the medication, "MysteryMan"!