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Posts Tagged ‘Serbia’

TW3 = That was the week that was. Hurricane Sandy knocked a lot of people for a loop including yours truly. So while we all continue gradually to recover, here is Mme. Secretary’s schedule for the week behind us.   I hope everyone out there weathered this terrible storm without danger to life or limb.

Public Schedule for November 2, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
November 2, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 2, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

1:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace David Hale, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

1:45 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Administrator Shah and Counselor Mills, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

Public Schedule for November 1, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC

November 1, 2012


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 1, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Zagreb, Croatia and Tirana, Albania. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Ambassador Marshall, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall, and VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS. Please click here for more information.

8:35 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Zagreb, in Zagreb, Croatia.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

11:10 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Albanian President Bujar Nishani, in Tirana, Albania.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

11:30a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends the presentation of the Order of the National Flag, in Tirana, Albania.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

12:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, in Tirana, Albania.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

12:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton delivers remarks Commemorating 100 Years of Albanian Independence, at Parliament, in Tirana, Albania.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

1:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Albanian Socialist Party Chief Edi Rama, in Tirana, Albania.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

1:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Tirana, in Tirana, Albania.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

Public Schedule for October 31, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC

October 31, 2012


SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Pristina, Kosovo and Zagreb, Croatia. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Ambassador Marshall, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall, and VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS. Please click here for more information.

8:10 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Pristina, in Pristina, Kosovo.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

8:40 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in Pristina, Kosovo.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

9:20 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci and and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in Pristina, Kosovo.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

10:15 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton delivers joint press statements with Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in Pristina, Kosovo.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

10:40 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci and Political Party Leaders, in Pristina, Kosovo.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

11:25 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with members of the Kosovo Serb Community, in Pristina, Kosovo.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

2:40 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, in Zagreb, Croatia.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

3:40 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, in Zagreb, Croatia.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

4:25 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a joint press availability with Croatian President Josipovic, in Zagreb, Croatia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

7:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a dinner hosted by Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, in Zagreb, Croatia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

Public Schedule for October 30, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
October 30, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
TUESDAY OCTOBER 30, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Sarajevo, Bosnia; Belgrade, Serbia; and Pristina, Kosovo. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Ambassador Marshall, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall, and VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS. Please click here for more information.

10:40 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Sarajevo, in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

11:05a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

12:10p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, EU Special Representative Peter Sorensen, High Representative Valentin Inzko, in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

12:55p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Members of the Bosnian Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic, Zeljko Komsic, and Nebojsa Radmanovic, and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

1:50p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a joint press availability with Bosnian Presidency Chairman Bakir Izetbegovic and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

4:10p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, and EU High Representative Ashton, in Belgrade, Serbia.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

5:30p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton delivers joint press statements with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, and EU High Representative Ashton, in Belgrade, Serbia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

6:15p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Belgrade, in Belgrade, Serbia.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

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On the heels of her birthday weekend, and with a nasty storm heading in, Mme. Secretary is scheduled to travel early this week.  As always, we wish her a safe journey.

Secretary Clinton to Travel to Algeria and the Balkans

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 24, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, and Croatia from October 29 to November 2.

On October 30 in Algeria, the Secretary will consult with President Bouteflika on issues of bilateral and regional concern and will follow up the productive discussions on economic and security cooperation at the U.S-Algeria Strategic Dialogue held in Washington on October 19.

The Secretary will then travel to the Balkans to demonstrate the enduring U.S. interest, commitment and support for its future in the European and Euro-Atlantic community.  She will be joined by Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo.

In Sarajevo, the Secretary and High Representative Ashton will underline the urgent need for party leaders to serve the interests of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and accomplish necessary reforms, and will stress the immutability of the international community’s commitment to the Dayton Peace Accords.

In both Belgrade and Pristina, in addition to discussing issues of bilateral interest, Secretary Clinton and High Representative Ashton will reiterate U.S.-EU resolve for Serbia and Kosovo to build on previous agreements and advance their dialogue, as well as to encourage concrete steps that will allow those countries to progress on their respective paths to EU membership.

In Tirana, the Secretary will highlight solidarity with NATO ally Albania and help mark the 100th anniversary of Albanian independence with an address to the Parliament, while marking the critical need for greater political cooperation and the rule of law.

In Zagreb, Secretary Clinton will discuss Croatia’s role as a NATO ally, its upcoming entry to the European Union in 2013, and its economic situation.

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Serbia Granted European Union Candidate Status

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 2, 2012

 


The March 1 announcement by the European Council that Serbia has been granted European Union candidate country status is an important step forward for Serbia’s future. I want to congratulate the leadership and the people of Serbia for their hard work, commitment and determination toward this goal.

I also welcome the announcement by the European Union that it will launch a Feasibility Study for Kosovo’s Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), which builds on the European Council’s conclusions on Kosovo from December. This is important for Kosovo’s European orientation and a key sign of Europe’s commitment to Kosovo.

Greater European integration is beneficial for Serbia, Kosovo and the entire region. I commend the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia for their courage and commitment in making the tough political decisions necessary to reach these milestones. I encourage the leaders of both countries to continue making progress in the EU-led dialogue, and to fully implement the decisions already agreed upon. The United States shares strong and enduring friendships with Kosovo and Serbia, and we will continue to work closely with both countries in support of a peaceful and prosperous European future.

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This interview requires context.  Here is the context.

Agreements Reached Between Kosovo and Serbia

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 24, 2012

Today, Kosovo and Serbia have taken another important step toward their common European future by coming to agreements in the EU-facilitated Dialogue on Kosovo’s representation at regional fora and a technical protocol on Integrated Border Management. I want to thank the European Union for facilitating these discussions and helping these two countries realize a brighter future.

This is an important step for Kosovo. These agreements are consistent with Kosovo’s independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty, and move Kosovo closer toward full European integration, which the United States continues to support. Kosovo will now sit at the table in regional fora as an equal partner, representing and speaking for itself.

We also hope these agreements will open the door to Serbia’s EU candidacy. Serbia’s progress toward European integration is good for Serbia, good for Kosovo, and good for the future of the entire region. We look forward to the continuation of the EU-facilitated Dialogue on other issues that impact the daily lives of the citizens of both countries.

The United States shares a strong and enduring friendship with Kosovo and Serbia. We have supported this process from the beginning, and we recognize the commitment and the difficult decisions that have been necessary in order to make progress. I want to commend both governments for their flexibility and hard work in this Dialogue. I encourage the people of both Kosovo and Serbia to implement these agreements in good faith and to support the progress that has been made. Only through dialogue and enhanced trust can both countries be assured of a peaceful, prosperous future as part of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

Now on to the interview!

Interview With Ilir Ikonomi of Voice of America Albania

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Via Telephone
Washington, DC
February 24, 2012

QUESTION: Hello, Mrs. Secretary. I am Ilir Ikonomi with the Voice of America, and I have a few questions on the agreement today.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, well, thank you, Ilir. I’m delighted to talk to you. I think this is a very, very, significant step forward for Kosovo.

QUESTION: Yes. This is what I wanted to ask you. What is the importance of these two agreements reached today in Brussels?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want to begin by saying how committed the United States is to Kosovo’s strengths and enduring partnership with us. And we are fully committed to her independence, her territorial integrity, her sovereignty. And I commend the government, under Prime Minister Thaci, for its constructive attitude and hard work in the EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia. The United States has supported this process from the beginning, and we know that this is a tough political choice, but it is going to move the people of Kosovo closer to European integration, and we think that’s very much in the interest of all Kosovars.

QUESTION: Mrs. Secretary, there have been concerns – and there still are in Kosovo – that the agreement on the representation of Kosovo with a footnote which makes reference to the Resolution 1244 of the Security Council – this might jeopardize the gains achieved so far, the independence and the territorial integrity. What do you make of that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I disagree with that. I actually think that this will assist in increasing the number of countries that already recognize the Republic of Kosovo, because it will remove an excuse that there’s no progress between Kosovo and Serbia. The United States and the 85 other countries who already recognize your independence and sovereignty and territorial integrity will actually have a stronger argument, that as Kosovo is moving toward European integration we are looking to the future.

And please remember that UN Security Council Resolution 1244, in fact, paved the way to Kosovo’s independence. It required Serbia to remove security forces. The International Court of Justice carefully considered 1244, and the whole world knows the conclusion, which we firmly agree, that Kosovo’s declaration of independence does not violate Resolution 1244. So I actually think this is a very smart, very clever, and very brave decision on the part of the government, because it will move Kosovo closer to Europe, and it will increase the number of countries that will recognize it.

QUESTION: But Mrs. Secretary, do you think there is the need of some safeguards against any conditions that Serbia might come up with in the future that might prevent Kosovo from joining the European Union in the future? Because this is a major concern today in Kosovo.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that Kosovo is closer to joining the European Union by doing this then you would be if you did not, because it very much has a recognition on the part of the European Union that Kosovo will be moving towards its own candidacy, something that was not possible in the past, because, remember, there are five European countries that do not recognize Kosovo. And the United States believes that today’s events significantly advance Kosovo’s European aspirations, that it further solidifies your status as an independent nation. Kosovo will now sit at the table as an equal partner with the ability to speak with your own voice. So I think that there are so many positive advantages for Kosovo in this agreement that I am very encouraged.

QUESTION: But precisely these five European countries that have not recognized Kosovo, that you just mentioned, is this a concern to you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, of course it’s a concern. We want every country to recognize Kosovo. But we also know that it will take time and we’ve been making steady progress, which we will continue. But I believe that by being a presence, able to sit at the table with these countries, able to participate in regional events and forums – that increases the likelihood that we will obtain recognition.

QUESTION: Mrs. Secretary, thank you very much, and thank you for your time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much. I am enthusiastic about the progress that Kosovo is making and very pleased that this important political decision will move Kosovo closer to European integration. And I encourage the people of Kosovo to stand behind the decision, support the progress that is being made. It’s come so soon after celebrating your fourth anniversary as an independent state. And I am looking forward to continuing to work with the government and the people on even better things in the future.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

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Arrest of Ratko Mladic

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 26, 2011

The United States welcomes the arrest of Ratko Mladic by Serbian security services earlier today. We commend President Tadic, the Government of Serbia, its security services and all those who have labored for years to bring Mladic to justice. We look forward to his earliest possible extradition to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague so that justice may be served.

This is a great day for justice in the international system. Mladic’s arrest serves as a statement to those around the world who would break the law and target innocent civilians: international justice works. If you commit a crime, you will not escape judgment, you will not go free.

Today, as we thank Serbia for bringing a criminal to justice, we also send our deepest sympathies and extend our thoughts and prayers to all those who have suffered from the notorious acts charged to Mladic, particularly the genocide at Srebrenica in 1995. You have waited far too long for this day. This arrest cannot restore what you have forever lost, but we hope it will provide some comfort that this criminal is now behind bars. We hope that Serbia’s action in arresting Mladic will help Serbia move on, provide the opportunity to gain admission into the European Union and enable Serbia to build a brighter future as part of a whole, free, and peaceful Europe.

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Earlier in the week, we saw the dedication of the new embassy compound in Sarajevo.  True to form,  Secretary Clinton held similar meet-and-greets with embassy staff and families both in Belgrade and in Pristina.  Here are her remarks at those events.

Secretary Clinton Meets with Embassy Belgrade Staff and Their Families

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hyatt Regency Belgrade
Belgrade, Serbia
October 13, 2010

Oh, it is wonderful seeing you, and I want to echo all the remarks of the Ambassador about the extraordinary work that you have done over the last years. And it means a great deal to the United States, to me personally, and to the people of our two countries that you are personally helping to forge a new chapter in our bilateral relationship.

I’m delighted to be starting my day off by seeing all of you and being able to extend my appreciation. I want to thank the Ambassador for her leadership here, your DCM, and all of you for not only what you do every day but for what you’ve done in preparation and execution of my visit and, of course, of Vice President Biden’s last year.

This is such an important time for the Balkans, and in our estimation, the changes that have occurred are really seminal; they mark such a turning point, but it is still not fully determined how this will play out. Serbia and Kosovo are working on a direct dialogue. We just had another election in Bosnia-Herzegovina which brought some hope for better cooperation although still a difficult challenge. Five countries in the region are taking steps to achieve full integration into the Euro-Atlantic community, and we believe that these and other steps promote our shared goals of stability and prosperity throughout the region.

And the United States is committed to helping to advance these goals and assisting these countries as they move forward. Your work with the Government of Serbia and its civil society organizations is helping to strengthen local institutions. I had an excellent visit with a number of the civil society representatives last night that many of you helped to arrange, and it really gave me more insight into the progress but still the remaining challenges that have to be dealt with.

Our military-to-military cooperation is helping to pave the way for Serbia to increase its contributions to global peacekeeping efforts, and the extended 10-year visa eligibility now makes it easier for Serbians to travel to the United States and to form lasting bonds with our people as well.

I know there’s a lot of work ahead, but I’m kind of a “glass is half full” person. I think we look at where we have come from, and yes, there is a lot ahead of us, but we should be proud of the progress that has been made here in Serbia over the last 10 years.

Just a decade ago, Serbia was still making the transition to a democratically elected government and we were working to restore diplomatic relations between our two countries. In fact, it was just 10 years ago this week that a small group of Americans and local staff members met here at this hotel to begin planning the reopening of U.S. Embassy Belgrade. A number of the local staff who helped reopen the Embassy are here today, so I’d like you to raise your hand – all of you who were here working for this Embassy 10 years ago – so I can see you and thank you very much for those 10 years of service that led to this day.

I think that there is a big agenda on the economic development front that we are going to be pursuing, and I’m excited that we’ve broken ground on a new Embassy compound, where we’ll be able to set the gold standard for diplomatic missions in Serbia. And it will be able to house our various aspects of the mission in one place, so there’ll be a lot of coordination and cooperation. It will set a high standard for energy efficient technology and the green standard for U.S. embassies around the world. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing it finished the summer of 2012, but probably not as much as you are.

But every one of you – Foreign Service, Civil Service, representatives of other U.S. Government agencies, local staff – your families have sacrificed a great deal to advance our work over the past 10 years. Some of you may have been here when the Embassy was attacked two years ago. How many of you were here for that? And you had to evacuate your families or had to be evacuated yourselves. Some of you chose to stay even through tough and uncertain times.

Whatever your role in whatever capacity, I want to thank each of you for the hours you’ve put in and the spirit that you bring to your work each day. I am very impressed by what this government is attempting to do, by the vision that President Tadic has of what is possible for Serbia in the future. We don’t have a vote as the United States in the European Union, but if I did have a vote, I’d vote today to begin the accession process, because I think it will be to Serbia’s great advantage to be integrated into Europe, to be a member of the European Union. Serbia has so much to contribute. And I’m personally going to be lobbying members of the EU when I see them in Brussels tonight to carry the message that Serbia is ready and Serbia should not be kept waiting.

And I know too when someone like me comes, it just adds so much extra work. I didn’t expect them to shut down the city – (laughter) – but I’m sure that’s made it more complicated to get around. But you all deserve to take a deep breath and a sigh of relief when I finally take off from the airport. But I am really pleased to have this chance to personally express our gratitude to you. I know how important the work that you do every day is. I mean, I can come in, a Secretary of State can come in, a Vice President can come in, but it’s the day-to-day connections that really matter that build the strong bonds between our people. And I want to see those bonds strengthened and deepened, and I want the relationship between our governments to grow and I want to see Serbia play a larger and larger role in regional and global affairs. And I think with your help, we can contribute to making that happen. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

********************************************************

Secretary Clinton Meets with Embassy Pristina Staff and Their Families

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Grand Hotel
Pristina, Kosovo
October 13, 2010

Well, it is wonderful visiting the world’s youngest country and meeting, as the Ambassador just said, one of our nation’s youngest and most dynamic embassy teams. I am delighted to have this opportunity to come here. I came in part to support your work, in part to encourage the government and people of Kosovo, and in part to see the statue of my husband. (Laughter and applause.)

I want to thank the Ambassador, and Chris, you’re doing a great job here with your leadership, and your DCM, Michael Murphy, who is also doing an excellent job leading this mission here in Kosovo. And I too want to acknowledge the special guests, the number of the American troops who are serving the KFOR. KFOR is NATO’s second-largest mission behind Afghanistan, and you’ve done such an extraordinary job. I’m proud of the role that the United States troops have played. I’m particularly pleased to welcome the (inaudible) National Guard, which is one of the largest National Guards in the United States, and to thank you for your service.

I just participated in an excellent discussion with some of this country’s young people. And before that, the Ambassador and I visited with some of the newly elected mayors of the Serbian majority municipality, and before that, with the leadership of the country – the acting president, the prime minister, the foreign minister, and others. And in each case, you probably entered ears burning because the work that you do was recognized. I was thanked for the visit and the (inaudible) – what you do for diplomacy and what you do for development.

So I want to thank everyone who’s a part of Embassy Pristina and tell you that your work is being acknowledged, and I am the one who was thanked when indeed each and every one of you should be thanked for everything you’ve done to help set Kosovo on the path toward integration into the Euro-Atlantic community, a real commitment to the growth of democratic institutions and improvement in the economy and service to this (inaudible) people of this country.

Now, we are going to be working very hard with our EU partners to support a direct dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade and to set the stage for a new relationship between Kosovo and Serbia. I thank you for your long hours that you have put in, both our civilians and our military members, because you have demonstrated unequivocally that the United States is Kosovo’s closest friend and ally, and that our voice will continue to advocate for Kosovo’s recognition. Both Beth Sreenan and Merita Stublla-Emini have been a driving force, encouraging Kosovo to strengthen the rule of law.

So where are Beth and Merita? Where are Beth and Merita? There they are. I want to thank you both. For the last year, the government has passed reforms to modernize the court system and create a professional, nonpolitical corps of judges. That’s a very important step to support this young democracy. Another of our priorities is to urge citizens to embrace Kosovo’s diversity as one of its core strengths. Jose Garzon, Jeton Cana, and Fred Boll have helped persuade Kosovo Serbs of the south to engage in legitimate Kosovo institutions and establish municipalities. So where are Jose, Jeton, and Fred? Where are they? Oh, thank you. (Applause.)

The country has also made some notable progress in combating human trafficking, and I would like to thank Angelica Maviki and Laura Salihu for working with the Government of Kosovo to develop and implement an anti-trafficking strategy, which is really an anti-slavery strategy. So where are they? Let me thank them for their work. (Applause.)

I would like to thank our Public Affairs officer, Emilia Puma, for leading the Embassy’s first foray into (inaudible). (Applause.) I am a very big believer in these new forms of communication. Getting people to organize, to talk to each other, discuss an issue, search for a solution (inaudible) American interests and certainly our diplomatic efforts.

Now, a lot has changed in the last year, and I don’t just mean the invention of Twitter or Facebook. When we first opened the U.S. office in Pristina in 1999, it employed just a few intrepid Americans and a crew of dedicated local staff who worked around the clock to press for peace in Kosovo. Today, we have more than 400 people working at our Embassy. And you could not have come this far without our excellent locally engaged staff, and I’d like all of our Kosovo staff to raise your hand so that we can thank each and every one of you. (Applause.) We could not do this work without your expertise and experience. Many of you have been with us for 10 years or even more, and I’m very grateful for your commitment.

Now, I know that there is another change coming this summer that will be further progress. And that is that for years, we did not allow children to accompany their parents here to this post. It was, frankly, just too dangerous. But next year, families with children will arrive at post for the first time, and that is tangible proof of the progress that Kosovo has made. And I, for one, am delighted that in the youngest nation in Europe, you’ll have some young Americans here (inaudible). (Applause.)

So I thank you for what you do every day, but I know that extra work goes into a visit like mine. It’s not easy preparing everything that we have to do. So I doubly thank you for the effort you made for this very successful trip of mine. So Kosovo is a place where America’s interests, America’s values, and America’s hope for the future all intersect. We have such a great opportunity to see our work make a difference in people’s lives. And so I thank you. I thank you for your commitment to our relationship with the people of Kosovo.

I was asked at the town hall interview just now what I thought, and I told the young people who were there that I am very optimistic about Kosovo, but I’m also a realist. I know it’s going to take work. There is still a lot to be done. Important changes don’t happen quickly, whether it’s in the life of a person or the life of a nation. But Kosovo is on the right track and the United States will do everything we can to be your partner and your friend as you continue down this track toward a better future.

So I look forward to continuing to work with you, with the government and people of Kosovo, and I am absolutely confident that we will see many positive changes in the years to come. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

 

 

 

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I just found these from yesterday. They are brief, but some Hillary is better than none at all!

Town Hall in Sarajevo

Remarks after meeting with Serbian President Tadic

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