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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  Madam President, Prime Minister, wonderful to have both of you here at the State Department and in the United States.  Kosovo is a steadfast partner of the United States, and I think as you all know, there is a long and strong history between us, particularly with President Biden, who sends his warm greetings to both of you.

We are working together on so many different issues of import to the United States and to our countries.  I want to thank you again for your generous hosting of at-risk Afghans, the strong support that we’ve seen from day one for Ukraine faced with the Russian aggression, the work that you’re doing on the Summit for Democracy, including hosting a summit on women, peace, and security – and, Madam President, I particularly appreciate your leadership on this.  And tomorrow you will sign a compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation – of real significance particularly when it comes to supporting your efforts to build renewable energy.

So there’s a lot to talk about as we’re working on all of these issues, as well, of course, critical issues of regional security that I know we’ll have a chance to discuss.  But mostly, it’s a pleasure and an honor to welcome both of you here to the State Department.  Thank you for coming.

PRESIDENT OSMANI:  Thank you so much.  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  Let me start by a message of gratitude on behalf of all the people of Kosovo whose lives America helped save.  Our partnership with the United States is not only indispensable, in fact it has been existential throughout our history.  It was existential for us to achieve our freedom.  It continued to be existential during our independence drive, until we achieved independence, and it remains so even today while we develop as a thriving democracy.  Kosovo today truly is a thriving democracy, an example of what the democratic world led by the United States can achieve when it comes together and it faces tyranny and it makes sure that freedom prevails over that tyranny and over genocidal regimes.

The same way that you stood by us at that time two decades ago, today you’re standing with Ukraine.  So I want to reassure you on behalf of Kosovo that the people of Kosovo also stand with Ukraine, as we have shown by adopting sanctions immediately, the same day the United States and the European Union have done so.  And, of course, we renew our call to all of the countries in the region to do so.

As you know, Mr. Secretary, Putin will continue to try to destabilize Europe also through the Western Balkans.  We will continue to need the steadfast support of the United States, as well as our European allies, to make sure that the plans of Russia as well as its proxies in the region are stopped.  For that reason, we look forward to working with you, with all of the Biden administration, to make sure that as frontliners in defending democracy, we are successful in defending our shared values, which are the very foundations of our country.

We look forward, alongside the prime minister, to discuss the reforms – especially on rule of law – that we are addressing in our country, and I want to thank you for that support, as well as for every step of the way that we have made, and at the same time, the support that we’re receiving from the United States in the area of defense, because, as you know, 23 years after Kosovo was liberated, today we’re serving shoulder to shoulder with U.S. soldiers in peacekeeping missions around the world.

For that and so much more, I want to thank you.  The independent, sovereign, free Kosovo is an irreversible reality which you have helped create.  We will work hand in hand every single day together with the United States, as well as other democratic nations around the world, to make sure that this reality is strengthened, to make sure that the international standing of the Republic of Kosovo is strengthened, and to move ahead in our well-deserved place in the Euro-Atlantic community.  Thank you so much for your welcome.


U.S. Department of State

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