Pristina, 10. September 2012 Press release

Spindelegger in Prishtina: “A new chapter begins for Kosovo”

Austrian Vice-Chancellor on the closing of the Ahtisaari UN Office in Pristina 

Prishtina, 10 September 2012 – Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger commended the success of the civil intervention and the cooperation with the Kosovar authorities since the independence of the country in 2008 in his speech to the Kosovar Parliament today to mark the ceremonial closure of the Office of the International Civilian Representative.  

Spindelegger: “The closure today of the Kosovo International Civilian Office and the end of the monitoring of Kosovar independence under the Ahtisaari Plan is a demonstration of the constitutional and democratic maturity the young state of Kosovo has achieved. The international civil intervention in the first years of Kosovo’s independence is not only a success story for the international community, but also for Kosovo itself.” 

The Vice-Chancellor recalled that the process of achieving full sovereignty for Kosovo had begun in Vienna in 2006 and he extended his thanks at the special session of the Kosovar Parliament to the guests of honour present at the ceremony, President Ahtisaari and his Austrian deputy Albert Rohan and also to the senior Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith as the “first and last international representative in Kosovo” for his commitment and outstanding work over the past four and a half years. 

“An era of intervention now comes to an end with the closure of what has become known as the Ahtisaari Office in Kosovo and the attainment of complete independence of the youngest European state. Kosovo can now begin a new chapter on the way to European integration”, the Foreign Minister said.  

“Full sovereignty, however, must also include full responsibility”, Spindelegger said, pointing to the future challenges the new state will face: “The reform process must be continued and not only within the country itself but also in its relations with neighbouring states.” 

In the course of the ceremonies in the Kosovar Parliament, at which Spindelegger was the only EU foreign minister to address the assembly, the President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga presented the Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister with the “Ibrahim Rugova Order for Peace, Democracy and Humanism”, named after the first President of the new state.  

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