Italian commitment in Kosovo was at the center of the Republic Day celebrations in Pristina. Two events had been chaired by Ambassador Antonello De Riu: the first one at the headquarters of the KFOR mission, where the largest Italian contingent abroad operates; the second one at the Emerald Hotel, with the participation of the President of the Republic, Vjosa Osmani, and the presence of numerous Ministers, as well as international and Italian communities in Kosovo.
At the NATO base “Film City”, Ambassador De Riu was welcomed by the Hungarian Mission Commander of the Mission, Gen. Ferenc Kajári, and the Italian Deputy Commander, Gen. Luca Piperni. “Our country is committed to build conditions for peace and its Armed Forces, based on the mandates entrusted by the Government and Parliament, contribute to this task. We reiterate this today as we stand by the attacked Ukraine. In this regard, the KFOR mission – to which Italy contributes with more than 600 men and women – remains an indispensable outpost to ensure stability in Kosovo and the Balkan region, an area of strategic importance for national interests and for the security of the entire European continent”, said the Head of Mission.
In the following event in presence of Kosovo’s institutions, Ambassador De Riu focused on bilateral relations and on the many initiatives launched in the economic, cultural, social and development cooperation fields, also highlighting the commitment of more than 800 Italians working permanently in the country in various international organizations – not only NATO but also the EU, EULEX, OSCE, and UN Agencies – as well as entrepreneurs and humanitarian workers. “It is a huge investment from Italian side – the Head of Mission added – and a priceless asset through which Kosovo can efficiently face the complex and interrelated global threats, highly topical after the unjustified Russian aggression to Ukraine, besides the internal problems and regional unresolved disputes”.
With regard to this last point, De Riu included a reference to the negotiations with Serbia facilitated by Brussels: “Peace and reconciliation are the outcome of a painful but necessary process. In this context, the dialogue with Belgrade remains essential in order to reach a comprehensive and legally binding agreement, which can accelerate the path of both countries towards the EU”, Ambassador stressed.
In addition to President Osmani, who also addressed the around 500 participants, the event held at Emerald Hotel was attended by, among others, Deputy Prime Minister Redžepi, Interior Minister Svecla, Defense Minister Mehaj, Industry Minister Hajdari, Health Minister Latifi, Culture Minister Çeku, Education Minister Nagavci, as well as the President of the Constitutional Court Caka-Nimani and numerous parliamentarians and representatives of the main political parties and ethnic minorities.
During the ceremony, Ambassador De Riu awarded the “Order of the Star of Italy” honors to the Dean of the Faculty of Philology of the University of Pristina, Professor Lindita Rugova, for her commitment to supporting the teaching of the Italian language at the university.