Vjosa Osmani, Kosovo's Parliament Speaker, said on Monday, on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of Pristina's declaration of independence, that Kosovo "today is not only breathing freely but is creating a new image and values for the world," the Beta news agency reported on Monday.
During the Parliament special session, which started with Kosovo's national anthem, she said that "today, small flags and big hearts flutter in all parts of Kosovo."
The distinguished guests included the best sportsmen, culture activists and artists. The MPs from the Serb List, Kosovo's Serbs party, supported by Belgrade, did not attend the session.
Osmani paid tribute to sportsmen and students, as well as those who, according to her, "sealed the fight for freedom, and independence," especially mentioning Kosovo's former President late Ibrahim Rugova and the guerilla leader, the first commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army Adem Jasari, who died in a shoot-out with Serbia's forces during the 1998-199 war in Kosovo.
Congratulating Pristina for its anniversary, Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, said on Monday Kosovo’s independence and sovereignty remained crucial to safety and stability of the Western Balkans. "Our two states have a strong partnership based on common values. The US supports Kosovo on its way to the Trans-Atlantic integrations and will continue to work on the improvement of the rule of law, fighting corruption and improving the economic prosperity for all Kosovo’s citizens," Pompeo wrote in his congratulatory note.
"Today, on the 12th anniversary of independence, we must pledge that every day we will strive to strengthen the state, the rule of law, the protection of basic human freedoms and a life of dignity for all. We must again pledge that we will protect every inch of our Kosovo, ensure the inviolability of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country and that not only our words but also our actions prove that February 17, 2008, is irreversible and that the Republic of Kosovo is permanent," Osmani told the session.
She also said that Kosovo went along the independence road in cooperation with the international community partners.
"We plead with them today to stay with us and next to us in implementing the will of the people in the economic development and Europian integrations. We are grateful to the US, the country we have an unbreakable friendship," she said.
Pristina unilaterally declared independence from Belgrade on February 17, 2008, based on a referendum held in 1991, which according to the then Constitution was illegal since organised only on the part of the country during the break-up of Yugoslavia. Serbia does not recognise Kosovo as an independent state and opposes its memberships to the international institutions, including the United Nations.
Almost half of the UN members have recognised Kosovo as an independent state so far, among which the most influential countries like the US and all but five European Union member states.
Belgarde has conducted a campaign for the withdrawal of decision on recognition, based on the UN 1999 Resolution 1244 which is neutral regarding the status of Kosovo.