Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu is the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo. She has been acting president since the resignation of Hashim Thaci. In this capacity, the 38-year-old is leading the charge at a challenging time when Kosovo wants to normalize relations with Serbia, which still does not recognize the independence of its former province. Sven Lilienström, the founder of Faces of Democracy, spoke with President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu about democracy, the Korona pandemic and the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue.
Madam President, Kosovo has been a parliamentary democracy with a separation of powers since 2008. And so, our first question is: How significant are democracy and democratic values to you personally?
Democracy is freedom, and freedom is democracy. I have always lived by this statement – it is what I have built my political career on. Kosovo’s history has seen the darkest side of humanity when democracy and freedoms were withdrawn. This is why we as citizens of Kosovo value democratic values so deeply and why I will continue to fight when they are challenged.
The results of US elections have traditionally had a strong impact on Kosovo. What does the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris mean for Kosovo? What do you expect from the new US administration?
Our new republic has always been extremely privileged to have the bipartisan support of the United States. But it is not surprising that our people are delighted to see President Biden in the White House, along with Vice President Harris. President Biden was our voice when we did not have one during the 1990s and has been a strong supporter of our independence and our most recent efforts to strengthen our statehood. Thus, I am confident that he will take the time to address the issues facing Kosovo today.
EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Laj Lák has been the face of our partner initiative Faces of Peace since 2019. And speaking of dialogue: When and how will the talks with Serbia continue?
For a long time, the day-to-day, more acute problems of Kosovo citizens were set aside as former Kosovo leaders hid behind the topic of dialogue to cover up their failures within the country. We must not allow it to happen any longer. Our citizens need justice and jobs, and it is our duty to provide. The dialogue with Serbia, of course, will also be in focus and will ensure that our country continues to show its readiness to engage constructively in this important process. The process must be concluded with mutual recognition and respect for the territorial integrity of Kosovo and its constitutional order.
Kosovo Albanian Vasfije Krasniqi Goodman told us that the victims of the war in Kosovo still hope for justice – but they are disappointed in “The Hague”. Is the international criminal justice system just a toothless tiger?
I completely agree with Vasfije. The justice system, both at home and abroad, has failed in surviving sexual violence during the Kosovo war. Giving justice to our war victims is a prerequisite for lasting peace and reconciliation. I believe that accountability stands firmly on the threshold of Serbia. Until the Serbian government confronts its past and its reality, we can not get justice through any system. It is time for the leadership in Serbia to let go of Milosevic’s mentality and stop denying the crimes committed in Kosovo and elsewhere in Yugoslavia.
The Corona pandemic has maintained strong control in the world since the beginning of 2020. What is the current situation in hospitals in Kosovo? Are there enough protective equipment and vaccines, and how did the vaccination program come out of the ground?
The pandemic has had a devastating health and economic impact worldwide, and unfortunately Kosovo is no different. Without a proper and functioning health system, of course we have found this period to be challenging – but it has only further strengthened my determination to invest in our health system to ensure we have the right safety net for our citizens. our.
I am eager to work with international institutions and our allies to ensure that we have a vaccine program as soon as possible physically.
Madam President, our seventh question is about looking to the future, and so we would like to ask you: What do you want for Kosovo? Where do you see your country in 2030 – where do you see yourself?
The main goal is to see the Republic of Kosovo as a fully functional state, without corruption and as a living democracy. A country where the rule of law makes real sense and where all institutions work in favor of the citizens and achieve the highest level of institutional integrity. And of course, a place that is known in all corners of the world. Moreover, we need to provide prospects for our people so that they can see a future and success in their country.
As for me, I will do everything in my power to make sure we achieve this!
Madam President, thank you very much for the interview!
Source: The Faces of Democracy
*About the Faces of Democracy and Peace Initiatives:
With almost 100 prominent figures from politics, business, media and society – including former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway Erna Solberg, the President of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, the German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas and OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger – The Faces of Democracy initiative is now in its fourth year of existence. The first “faces” of the established “Faces of Peace” initiative of 2019 are the Director of SIPRI Dan Smith, the President of Atlantic Brücke eV Sigmar Gabriel, OSCE CiO 2019 and the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák and the Chief i Staff of the 69th Submarine Brigade of the Northern Fleet Vasili A. Arkhipov.