Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a townterview with students, women leaders, and members of civil society in Pristina, Kosovo, on October 13, 2010. The Secretary was asked a variety of questions from challenges Kosovo is currently facing to Kosovo's future.
Secretary Clinton said, "I think that I see the way that Kosovo is moving forward to be very encouraging. You are building up your democratic institutions, which is very important. You're about to have another election which needs to be as strong and transparent and free as possible with as much participation. You are working on economic development, privatizing some of the inefficient state enterprises like electricity and telecommunications. So on the democratic, constitutional, economic front, you're making progress and the United States stands ready to help you continue that progress.
"I think there needs to be improvements in services, education, healthcare, other kinds of services that the people of Kosovo are looking for, and again, we will be there to help you. I am very pleased at how there is a commitment to integration and pluralism within Kosovo. I just met with the elected Serb mayors in municipalities here and talked through with them what they're doing to make a difference in the lives of the people that they represent. And as you said, there will be an important dialogue, starting with Serbia, that will begin to solve some of the remaining problems that still exist, which is very important for both countries so that both countries can move toward European integration."
She continued, "The United States does not have a vote in the European Union, but we believe strongly that all the countries of the Balkans should be starting on a path toward European integration, beginning with visa liberalization for people in Kosovo, particularly young people, so that you can travel, study, work, really tell the story of Kosovo beyond your own boundaries.
"So although I know the road ahead is challenging, you've come such a long way. And what you have overcome and what your parents and your grandparents have had to deal with really puts you in a strong position to build your own country to be a model for yourselves and for others in the region, and then to play an active role in the future in Europe. And that's what I'm going to commit myself to help you to achieve."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.
Secretary Clinton is traveling to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Brussels from October 11 to 14. The Secretary is meeting with government and civic leaders, and citizens to highlight the continued U.S. commitment to support all the Balkan states in achieving their aspirations for full integration into the European and Euro-Atlantic community. Learn more about her trip here.