I am in favor of the European Union and the United States’ direct recognition of Kosovo’s independence for it would stabilize this part of Europe and the Kosovar society, Macedonia, where an important part of the Albanese community lives, as well as Albania, Montenegro and Serbia. The international community would decide if we meet the conditions and consequently it would work on Kosovo’s status. I think this direct recognition is the best solution, contrary to what the UN Mission in Kosovo (Unmik) think which is that it is up to the UN Security Council to make the final decision. The solution proposed by the International Commission on the Balkans (think tank or center for research, propaganda and the spreading of ideas) which consists of a four-stage plan and the independence in the future is not satisfactory either. Not making a final decision would simply lead to manipulations.
The news coming from Russia, the United States and some members of the European Union regarding the independence are mostly negative. However, for us it is a practical matter for this is the only way to have access to financial institutions and diplomatic representation abroad. The priority is the domestic development; the age of hatred is over. In Kosovo, as in everywhere, we have a government and an opposition which, obviously, criticizes the regime though we don’t have a crisis. Part of the international community is not aware that democracy is a reality in Kosovo. The common platform of all parties is the independence, an issue we are all in agreement with. The opposition will take part in the debates regarding the status but they are all aware the discussion will be led by the legal institutions. I don’t think a meeting with Serbian President Boris Tadic in May, during the conference on the reconstruction which will be held in Paris, would help much. There are exchanges between Belgrade and Pristine regarding technical issues. Serbia can participate in an international conference about Kosovo but it has not right to veto the future status of the country.

Die Presse (Austria)

«Im Kosovo ist die Zeit des Hasses vorüber», by Ibrahim Rugova, Die Presse, April 30, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.