Albanian leader addressing UN calls for greater international recognition of Kosovo

23 September 2010Albania’s President today appealed to United Nations Member States to recognize the independence of Kosovo, saying such a move would help promote peace and stability in the Balkans. Bamir Topi told the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment that “the matter of Kosovo and its borders belongs to the past” and Serbia and Kosovo should now engage in dialogue on practical issues.“We have the responsibility towards a country and a people that rightly wish to be among us and have given ample evidence that it truly deserves it,” he said.Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, but Serbia has said that it will not recognize the declaration.In July the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion in which it concluded that the declaration of independence did not violate either general international law, a 1999 Security Council resolution following the end of fighting in Kosovo, or the constitutional framework adopted by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on behalf of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The advisory opinion, which is non-binding, was issued in response to an earlier request from the General Assembly.Mr. Topi today urged Serbia and Kosovo to immediately begin dialogue to resolve practical issues, “in the interest of daily concerns of their citizens, to help them but also to facilitate and even calm the situation of respective minorities, Albanian and Serbian. It is time for the solution of problems and issues of representation, language, education or others in the spirit and vision of the common European future.”

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