Remarks by Ambassador Muhamet HamitiReception on the occasion of the Second Anniversary of Kosovos Independence Declaration Le Meridien Hotel, 21 Piccadilly, London
Dear friends of the Republic of Kosovo,
I am delighted to see all of you this afternoon in this event to mark our national day, the second anniversary of our Independence Declaration. I have seen many of you at other functions within and without the diplomatic community in London. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Kosovos Day!
Kosovo has come a long way in the past couple of years as an independent nation in its own right. Kosovo has been recognized by 65 countries so far. The recognizers represent two thirds of the worlds Gross Domestic Product. Over 100 States supported Kosovos membership in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank last year.
Independence has brought stability to Kosovo internally and externally. The Republic of Kosovo has taken its place as a sovereign and independent State and a responsible member of the international community.
Kosovo is proving itself up to the task of a young democracy, as we are wrapping up an unprecedented nation-building enterprise. We have recently conducted very successfully the first local elections in the Republic of Kosovo. They were especially dear to all of us for the significant participation of the local Serbian community. The majority Albanian population and the minorities are rebuilding the very fabric of society which had been devastated by the war more than a decade ago.
All the principal institutions provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo (and foreseen in the UN Special Envoy Plan) have been established and are now fully operational. Last year we established : the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo, The Kosovo Intelligence Agency, and the Kosovo Security Force. The NATO-trained Kosovo Security Force is a democratic, multiethnic, apolitical and civilian-controlled security force.
In terms of economic development, Kosovo saw a 4.1% increase in its GDP last year. It is a remarkable achievement against the backdrop of global recession, although from a low base. Our Embassy organized last November the first UK-Kosovo Investment Forum here in London. It was an event bringing together key Government ministers, CEOs of major companies in Kosovo, as well as many potential investors from this country. Grab a copy of the report Investing in Kosovo they are here in the room if you have not done so already!
The Republic of Kosovo has entered into diplomatic relations with most of the recognizing States, and to date it has accredited 22 Embassies and 9 consular missions across the world.
I presented the credentials to Her Majesty the Queen on 8 December 2009. It was an historic moment, for Kosovo has an Ambassador in this country for the first time. I will be travelling to New Zealand in the coming days to present the Letter of Credence to the Governor-General and thus establish diplomatic relations with that country.
Many of you are aware of the advisory proceedings taking place before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague regarding Kosovos independence declaration. The oral part of the proceedings was concluded in early December. The Republic of Kosovo places full trust in the International Court of Justice. We, and indeed many countries making their cases before the ICJ, maintain that the Declaration of Independence of 17 February 2008 did not contravene any applicable rule of international law.
We expect a lot of countries will now be able to review our request for recognition a standing request and embrace Kosovo, as Kosovo has embraced the world.
Kosovo aims at joining the EU and NATO and at continuing to be a factor of stability in the region, as well as maintaining excellent relations with all its neighbors. The European Commission has proposed a feasibility study evaluating means to further Kosovos political and socio-economic development, and examining how best Kosovo can progress as part of the region towards integration with the EU in the context of the Stabilization and Association Process. This approach proves the Republic of Kosovos clear European perspective.
I would like to conclude by saying how pleased I am to be serving my nation in London, a diplomatic and financial hub, the capital of the great nation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a friend and ally who have stood by us in times of evil and bliss.
God bless the Queen.
God bless Kosovo.
Thank you very much for your attention.