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Kosovo’s Embassy to the United States Celebrates the Fifth Anniversary of Kosovo’s Independence

Washington, D.C, February 26, 2013 - The Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo to the United States of America hosted a reception to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Kosovo’s independence. Representatives of the U.S. government, the U.S. Congress, foreign ambassadors and diplomats, international organizations, members of the Kosovo-American community and other distinguished guests, attended the reception.

In his opening remarks, Kosovo’s Ambassador to the U.S., H.E. Akan Ismaili, said: “It’s a real honor and personal pleasure to have this celebration here in United States, my first, as an ambassador and the first for Kosova as fully sovereign nation. Last September we marked the formal end of the international supervision of our independence.” He added that the celebrations are great moments to look back and recognize the work, dedication and sacrifices for freedom and independence. “Here in US we recognize the tireless work of many Americans, groups and individuals, as well as American leaders, politicians of the both side of the aisle, who came together and reversed the trend of suffering and destruction”, said Ismaili.
 

During his remarks, Ambassador Ismaili recognized the work and sacrifices of Albanian-American Community that has invested with all their means to build meaningful relationship with US political leaders starting in their districts. “The partnership they’ve started and built, we shall continue to nurture and cultivate together”, said the Ambassador, adding that the celebrations are also a great moment to look forward for the path ahead and that full international participation and Euro-Atlantic Integration are top priorities for all of us.

Addressing the audience, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Jonathan Moore, recalled his early dealings with Kosovo and showed a newspaper where he was pictured greeting the late president Rugova. He continued his address by reading the letter that President Obama sent to President Jahjaga, stating that the United States greatly admires the progress that Kosovo has made in its first five years of independence. The letter also reaffirmed America’s commitment to the common goal of seeing Kosovo secure its rightful place in an integrated, democratic, and prosperous European future.

Representative Eliot Engel, a ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, gave his remarks as well at the reception. He said that people of Kosova have a great deal of which they can be proud, and reassured the guests that “the United States has and will always remain the best friend of the Republic of Kosova”.

Ambassador’s Ismaili speech.

Dear Distinguished Guests,
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Ladies and Gentleman,

It’s a real honor and personal pleasure to have this celebration here in United States, my first, as an ambassador and the first for Kosova as fully sovereign nation. Last September we marked the formal end of the international supervision of our independence. It ended with a fitting event in Prishtina, ahead of its schedule and with confirmation that Kosovo has fulfilled all of its obligations in front of the international group , led by former President Ahtisari, that recommended  a comprehensive package for final status of Kosova as independent and multi-ethnic state where protection of human, ethnic and religious rights are at it’s core.

Last year we have taken the number of the recognitions to 98 and we are reaching out to countries in every continent and witnessing a growing understanding of the Kosovo context. We expect to see the result of this outreach in the weeks ahead.

Also, last year, we were invited to join the EBRD, an important step on the economic development area.

But, these celebrations are great moments to look back and recognize the work, dedication and sacrifices for freedom and independence. Here in US we recognize the tireless work of many Americans, groups and individuals, as well as American leaders, politicians of the both side of the aisle, who came together and reversed the trend of suffering and destruction.

We also recognize the work and sacrifices of our Albanian-American Community that has invested with all their means to build meaningful relationship with US political leaders starting in their district. The partnership they’ve started and built we shall continue to nurture and cultivate together.

The celebrations are also a great moment to look forward for the path ahead. Full international participation and Euro-Atlantic Integration are top priorities for all of us.

On the EU front, we expect us soon to be soon on the White Schengen list and with signed Stabilization and Association Agreement that will initiate our way towards for the EU.

The confirmation by NATO of Full Operational Capabilities, and the implementation of Security Sector Review conclusions, which is being conducted in full partnership with United States, will help build stronger ties with NATO and get us closer to it. We want to make Kosovo and its forces as guarantors of regional peace and see them side-by-side American and other allies whenever their services are required.

We understand that road to euro-atlantic integration will not be easy, nor will it be fast, but we count on the support of our friends and allies to succeed.

And this is why the new relationship we are building in Iowa is so special. This is among the first new relationship in and with US in this new era, a non-emergency and in peaceful times. We hope it to grow into a true partnership, in which we can also give back.

National Guard partnership program, between Iowa National Guard and Kosovo Security Forces is one of the most active one today. There are many activities and engagement between the two, and I should mention The Warrior Leader Program, by my understanding; largest NCO training initiative designed to strengthen skills of KSF Noncommissioned officers.

But, this is not stopping on the security sector only. With General Orr vision of “whole of Iowa - whole of Kosovo” and support from the rest of Iowans and support of our government we are hoping to expand this wider into the society.

As the first exchanges took place, we also had president Jahjaga visited Iowa earlier this year, as we  are looking forward to we are expecting to host Governor Bradshaw in Prishtina where further partnership is to be discussed.

So far we identified education, agriculture, health and business development where partnerships are feasible and welcome.

We expect to support General Orr’s vision for very close cooperation on many areas, and view this relationship as an important pillar of Kosovo-American relations.

Finally, want to thank continuous US support, as reiterated recently by President Obama and Secretary Kerry, in this key transitional phase that Kosovo is going through.

Washington, February 26, 2013