Text of report in English by Albanian news agency ATA
Pristina, 15 June: Prime Minister Sali Berisha said on Thursday [15 June] that "the Albanian nation moves free and safe towards the future." "Kosova [Kosovo] and Albania move like two sisters towards EU and Euro-Atlantic integration," he said.
In a greeting message delivered to the Assembly of Kosova, Berisha stressed: "The date of 12 June 1999 marks a great event in the history of freedom and peace not just for Kosova but for the whole Balkans, Europe, NATO and its member countries. On this anniversary, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to those who turned into a reality the dream of freedom of the citizens of Kosova, my great expectation".
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha was received with standing applause by deputies in the special session of the Assembly of Kosova as he entered the hall and his speech was applauded several times. "Please, allow me, first of all, to convey to you, the representatives of the people of Kosova, on behalf of the government and the citizens of Albania the most cordial greetings, the deepest gratitude and absolute and all-round support for your forward advance in the efforts for the realization of your legitimate aspirations", Prime Minister Berisha said in his address to the deputies of the Assembly of Kosova.
Further on, in his speech Mr.Berisha said: "I come to Kosova only three days after the seventh anniversary of the liberation of Kosova and just three days after Albania signed with the European Union the Stabilization and Association Agreement [SAA], leaving behind the transition and consolidating, in an irreversible way, its road towards joining the family of the peoples and European states".
"I bow before the resistance of the citizens of Kosova, their sublime sacrifice for freedom, dignity, honour and national and European identity. I also express admiration to you for transforming this Assembly into a real temple, sponsor of freedom values, for the approval of laws for building democracy, rule of law in the European Kosova, in Kosova of equal citizens that moves towards Euro-Atlantic integration," said Berisha.
The prime minister said: "I notice with satisfaction that in Kosova notable progress has been achieved in regard to keeping of stability and tranquillity, in the progressive realization of the required standards. These achievements have been a result of your willingness to build all-embracing democratic institutions based on Western values that guarantee respect of the rights and freedoms of the individual and of the minorities in a free country", said the prime minister.
Speaking about Albania's stand in regard to Kosova status, Berisha said: "Albania has been and will continue to be an important factor, active and constructive for the solution of Kosova issue". "Albania's stand for Kosova is crystal clear: we strongly support the efforts of the international community, the Security Council, the Contact Group and the Mission of the envoy of the UN secretary-general, Marti Ahtisaari, along with the representatives of Kosova, for finding a solution, which takes into account the real will of the people of Kosova", said Berisha.
According to the prime minister, "Albania also supports the basic principles drafted by the international bodies on which such a solution will be build: no return to situation prior 1999, no division of Kosova and no union with any other country".
Berisha said: "We consider the international presence as indispensable for Kosova even in the period after the status." The prime minister also expressed his appreciation about the work of UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo ] chief, Soeren Jessen-Petersen, saying that "we believe that the brilliant job of Mr Petersen will be proceeded further up to the completion of negotiations and determination of the final status of Kosova", said Berisha.
According to him, Albania considers Kosova's independence as the only solution which guarantees peace and stability in Kosova, but even in the other surrounding countries. "Peace, stability and their consolidation in Kosova have a great importance for Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Balkans as a whole. But, their consolidation makes a hard and vital process," said Berisha.
Speaking about the cooperation between Albania and Kosova, Berisha said: "Albania and Kosova have common interests in all the fields, but more is needed in the future. Kosova, through the ports of Albania (Shengjin) approaches with Europe. To this goal serves even the acceleration of the work on the realization of the project on Durres-Morine road. More intensity and interest is needed even for the increase of trade, tourist relations and the creation of a unique energy network, development of educational, scientific and cultural links," said Berisha. The prime minister stressed that "Albania considers Kosova part of the democratic and integration processes in the region and over a wider area".
Source: ATA news agency, Tirana, in English 1842 gmt 15 Jun 06