Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister of Kosovo, in an interview for Bulgarian National Radio’s broadcast Before All.
Host: Today is the second day of the visit of Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Tachi to Bulgaria. In a special interview for BNR, Hashim Tachi thanked Bulgaria for being one of the first countries to recognise Kosovo’s independence in the spring of 2008. Hashim Tachi underlined that the relations between Pristina and Sofia were excellent and invited the Bulgarian business to invest in Kosovo, because his country had an active economy.
Hashim Thaci: I had the opportunity to visit the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), where I spoke with its representatives about economic cooperation between our two countries. Kosovo is a young country, but it has become very attractive for investments and for making business. I am very happy that Bulgarian investors also entered the economy of Kosovo. They made good relations with local businesspeople in Kosovo. That is why, during my talks in the BIA, I have invited more representatives of the Bulgarian business to come to Kosovo and see what the business opportunities are for them there, so that we can continue working together. In the same time, I would like to express my gratitude that there are representatives of the Kosovo business have already started working in Bulgaria, opening new employment opportunities in your country.
Reporter: Mr Tachi, how do you see the present situation in the Western Balkans?
Hashim Thaci: I think that the way countries from the Western Balkans are going is the right way, as it will lead us to Europeanisation and integration to the EU and NATO. The independence of Kosovo will undoubtedly bring security and peace to the Balkans, as well as a spirit of good neighbourly relations and cooperation. And as you can see, Kosovo has very good ties with its neighbours. We would like to have such ties and relations with Serbia, as well. We want the contacts between Balkan countries to not be looking in the past, but in the future.
Reporter: Mr Prime Minister, do you think that the time for dividing the Balkans is through?
Hashim Thaci: Most definitely. The wars on the Balkans are over, just as the division of the region. Even if there is a political leader, who has visions or mindset for division of territories, he will not be able to have any negative influence on the development of the processes on the Balkans. We all, peoples from the region, must work together towards a common future and open borders.
Reporter: Mr Tachi, what do you think about the present situation in Macedonia?
Hashim Thaci: The relations between Kosovo and Macedonia are very good, and they will continue being very good in the future. I would like to emphasise that Macedonia is on the right way towards EU integration. The recognition of Macedonia’s progress and the country’s future accession to the European family would most certainly bring more security, stability, and peace on the Balkans. All Balkan countries like Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro will have to make this step together, and walk our mutual path together in the future, in order to realise our European perspective.
Reporter: How would you comment on the recent ethnic clashes in Macedonia?
Hashim Thaci: I had the opportunity to say, not long ago, that Macedonia still has a lot of work to do internally in order to live up to the EU expectations. I already had meetings and talks with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, as well as with the local ethnic-Albanian leaders, and I can tell you that both sides are willing and committed to work together towards EU integration. I think that we will see the necessary results in the future.
Reporter: Is the situation in Kosovo stable, Mr Tachi?
Hashim Thaci: Kosovo is a stable country, where people leave in peace. The future of Kosovo is becoming part of the EU, NATO, and the UN.
Reporter: How do people in Pristina view the election of Tomislav Nikolic as President of Serbia?
Hashim Thaci: With the election of the new President of Serbia – Tomislav Nicolic, the Serbian people elected in a legitimate way their new leader. We, in Pristina, want to have good relations with Serbia – both between the ordinary people and on a political level – between the two governments. And I can tell you that we are working in this direction. I think that the message, which President Nikolic will send will show that the European future will lead to European way of communication. Not only with the other countries, but with Kosovo as well.
Reporter: If the new Serbian president decided to go to Kosovo without invitation or permission by the authorities in Pristina, how would you react?
Hashim Thaci: Kosovo is a sovereign country and the programme of the Serbian President is not a part of my prerogatives or priorities. This is the only way I can answer your question.
Reporter: There have been talks about the possibility of giving Northern Kosovo a special status. Is that really possible?
Hashim Thaci: There will be no special status for Northern Kosovo. There will be no separation or division of territories. I, on behalf of my country, will present a project for integration of the Serbs living in this region of Kosovo. This project will be made in the same way as the Serbs from the central and southern parts of Kosovo are integrated – in the political and state institutions of the Republic of Kosovo.
Reporter: Let me ask you the question from a different perspective, Mr Tachi. Will Northern Kosovo be a part of your country in the future?
Hashim Thaci: As until now and at the present moment, this part of the territory of Kosovo will continue being a part of our country. Just as Kosovo will become a part of the united European family.