In Pristina, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci on October 13, 2010. The Secretary spoke about the U.S. partnership with Kosovo, as well as the hope for Kosovo and Serbia to forge a positive, long-term relationship.
Secretary Clinton said, "From the start, the United States supported Kosovo's right to exist as a sovereign, independent state within its existing borders. We welcomed the International Court of Justice's recent advisory opinion affirming Kosovo's legal right to declare independence. And now we will continue to support Kosovo as it does the hard work of building a stable, prosperous, and democratic country that is at peace with its neighbors and increasingly integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community. To that end, the United States is encouraged by the upcoming dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia which offers a chance for these countries to settle practical problems and overcome obstacles to being good neighbors.
"As I said to Prime Minister Thaci today and to Serbian President Tadic yesterday, some matters, like the status, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Kosovo, are not up for discussion. But the leaders of both countries must approach the dialogue in good faith and with respect for each other's concerns. These talks represent an opportunity to address immediate and practical needs while making progress toward mutually beneficial goals -- for example, increasing travel and trade. So the United States has urged both Serbia and Kosovo to come to the table with a plan -- and we know that Kosovo has already presented a framework -- and to lay the groundwork for a positive, long-term relationship."
She continued, "As a brand new country with a dynamic, multiethnic population and the youngest population in Europe -- as I saw in the streets with all the beautiful babies and children that I had a chance to see -- Kosovo is called to do many things at once. Kosovo is called to instill a tradition of democracy and establish strong public institutions to spark sustained economic growth, attract foreign investment, and create jobs for all of those young people; to continue with a transparent plan to privatize inefficient state enterprises like the electricity and telecom companies; to establish a firm commitment to the rule of law; free, fair, transparent elections; and to encourage people from different backgrounds and ethnicities to live in harmony and work together to build a common future. All of these tasks are essential and none of them is easy.
"The United States will continue to provide whatever support we can to the people and Government of Kosovo as you work toward these goals in the months and years ahead. We will assist as needed with the upcoming elections. They are a milestone for this new democracy. And we know that they will be transparent and faithful to the constitutional order. We will support the development of Kosovo's private sector. We see great potential for Kosovo's economy to grow, especially if you make investments in your young people, who are, after all, your country's greatest resource."
Secretary Clinton continued, "While there is no question that there is a long road that we must travel together ahead of us, let us stay focused on where this road leads, a future in which an independent, multiethnic Kosovo is secure and thriving, where opportunities for young people are abundant, where democratic traditions are strong, and where peace reigns throughout the region. That is a future worth working for.
"Kosovo must take the lead yourself. But I want you to know, Prime Minister, that just as we have been with you on the hard road to independence, we will stay with you. We are your partners and we are your friends and we are very committed to your future."
Secretary Clinton also sent a special greeting to all of the American troops, as well as the troops from our allies and partners serving at Camp Bondsteel. She said, "I'm sorry that I could not get out to visit you personally on this trip, but I thank you for everything that you are doing to support stability in Kosovo and across the region. President Obama and I are committed to helping the countries of the Balkans achieve lasting stability and prosperity."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.
You can follow the Secretary's travel here.