"Kosovo’s progress is a miracle, but there is still work to be done"

The U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Jeff Hovenier said in an exclusive interview with RTK that many positive developments have taken place in Kosovo, but there is still much to be done.

“Next month, Kosovo celebrates the 14th anniversary of independence and I think what the people of Kosovo have achieved in these 14 years is extraordinary,” Hovenier said. According to him, wonderful things have happened over the years.

“Look what it is possible now, look at the rule of law system, the law enforcement system or the security forces or civil society organizations and all that they have achieved. I think it is a miracle. But there is still work to be done to move this miracle forward, still work to see this country more and more occupying its deserved place as a sovereign and independent country that provides services to all its citizens,” Hovenier said.

Speaking about the issue of the association of Serb-majority municipalities, Hovenier said that what this would be is an issue for the government of Kosovo. “I would say that even then, in the time of Ahtisaari, no one had in mind something that would have another layer of government, something with executive functions, something that … I am aware of the concerns for another Republika Srpska. No one is interested in that. This does not help Kosovo. It is not useful. But there are some benefits in terms of coordination,” said the U.S. ambassador.

Hovenier told RTK that Kosovo’s sovereignty, Kosovo’s territorial integrity, are not questionable. “Kosovo is an independent state. Some people may choose to oppose this, but it’s true. Kosovo is a sovereign state. Some people may choose to oppose this, but it’s true. People can debate as much as they want, but the reality, the facts on the ground, speak for themselves.”

He also spoke about sanctions against those who commit a transnational crime. “We do not sanction people because of their political views. We do not sanction people because of political activity. We sanction people if they commit acts, which are specified by regulations or law, that allow the imposition of sanctions, that is if you are destabilizing a political system if you are involved in transnational organized crime. As we have said, anyone involved in transnational organized crime should be concerned that they will face specific sanctions. Anyone who challenges a constitutional order of a country we know and works with should also be concerned. People who express political views should not worry,” Hovenier said.