Epoka e Re carries an interview that PDK leader Hashim Thaçi gave to Voice of America. The headline that the newspaper chooses for the interview is Thaçi’s quote that UNMIK should realise that it is redundant in the political process in Kosovo.
‘Two million Kosovo Albanians have expressed their will for an independent and sovereign state of Kosovo. There are certainly differences as to the path and way of achieving this, but every political leader is obliged to implement the will of citizens. The state of Kosovo or independence is not an invention of some political leader, it is the will of citizens and we as political leaders are obliged to implement it,’ Thaçi was quoted as saying.
Commenting on preparations for final status talks and Philip Goldberg’s statement that the Kosovan side is not prepared for talks, Thaçi said: ‘I think the Kosovan side, the institutions, and political parties are prepared for the political status; the civil society and citizens are determined [to have an] independent and sovereign state. I think the international community should be more prepared to respect the right of Kosovo citizens to express their will for a state. My assessment is that this is a new and positive situation, and the circumstances require Washington, Brussels, the Security Council and the Contact Group to respect the will of Kosovo citizens. The people, institutions and parties are prepared to enter the process of building the independent and sovereign state of Kosovo integrated in Euro-Atlantic structures.’
Thaçi said the time has come to resolve the issue of status but also added that ‘work should be done in order not to negotiate the political status’. ‘It is unacceptable to negotiate on the political status because the will of citizens should in no way be on the table of talks. On the table should be modalities for building the state of Kosovo and not what the status should be.’
Asked on his perception over the future role of the international community in Kosovo, Thaçi was quoted as saying, ‘It should be an important role, same as the role in other independent countries. Of course, UNMIK should gradually realise that it is redundant in the political process in Kosovo. We must have close cooperation with all mechanisms that will remain as advisory offices in Pristina, and at the same time we should focus and invest a lot in having a strong NATO presence here so that even after the resolution of status Kosovo can be part of global security.’