site.btaKosovo President Osmani-Sadriu Pays Official Visit to Bulgaria
Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu paid an official visit to Bulgaria on Wednesday at the invitation of President Rumen Radev. Radev welcomed the Kosovo official with a ceremony in front of the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia. The two Presidents reviewed the Guard of Honour and Osmani-Sadriu laid a wreath at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier.
After the welcome ceremony, Presidents Radev and Osmani-Sadriu held a one-to-one meeting, followed by plenary talks between the official delegations. The heads of State discussed matters on the bilateral and regional agenda, Kosovo's European perspective, and ways to boost cooperation in the economy, investments, energy, transport, tourism, education, science, and culture.
"Bulgaria will continue to work for greater commitment by the EU to the Western Balkans," said Radev after meeting his Kosovar counterpart. Radev was confident that the future of Kosovo is in the EU. He noted that Bulgaria hails the efforts of Kosovo officials and the public for full-fledged European integration and steps to continue reforms, strengthen state institutions, fight against crime and corruption as key to a future EU membership.
Radev said that, thanks to Bulgaria's efforts in the past months, the EU has taken more steps in support of the Balkan region not only for boosting security but for overcoming and mitigating the energy crisis and advancing social and economic development. "We expect the Western Balkan countries to prove in a continuous process their commitment to the principles and the values of the EU, and the principles of goodneighbourliness," said the Bulgarian head of State.
Bulgarian servicepersons, who participated in the KFOR NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo received a presidential medal of honour from the Kosovar President at a ceremony at the President's administration. Osmani-Sadriu presented the distinction to Major General Valeri Tsolov, Commander of the Bulgarian Joint Forces Command.
Attending the ceremony were caretaker Deputy Defence Minister Teodora Genchovska, Defence Chief Admiral Emil Eftimov, and senior officers.
Currently, 30 Bulgarian servicemen are deployed in Kosovo.
National Assembly Chair Vezhdi Rashidov and Osmani-Sadriu discussed topics of mutual interest including the intense development of relations between the two countries. Bulgaria believes that the future of Kosovo is associated with the European Union, said Rashidov.
The National Assembly Chair expressed desire to further parliamentary cooperation between the two countries. He said that cooperation between the Balkan countries will contribute to security in the region as well as Europe. Rashidov recalled that there is a draft economic cooperation agreement and a culture cooperation programme which are awaiting response from Kosovo.
Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ekaterina Zaharieva added that Bulgaria is confident in the European future of Kosovo and that Kosovo can rely on Bulgaria for political and technical support for becoming a member of the EU and the Council of Europe. Zaharieva raised the issue of recognition of the Bulgarian minority in Kosovo and stated that its presence is a bridge between the two countries.
Caretaker Prime Minister Galab Donev held a meeting at the Council of Ministers with Osmani-Sadriu. During the talks, Donev and Osmani-Sadriu discussed the potential for deepening bilateral cooperation.
The focus of the meeting was cooperation in the energy sector and Bulgaria's readiness to discuss concrete opportunities to assist Kosovo in the supply of electricity. In the context of the current challenges to European energy security, Donev emphasized Bulgaria's aspiration to deepen successful cooperation with neighbouring and partner countries in the energy sector, including in the implementation of key strategic infrastructure initiatives of the EU to diversify energy supplies to the region.
Osmani-Sadriu was grateful for the warm reception. She confirmed that Kosovo has had Bulgaria's support since 1999. "I believe that Kosovo and Bulgaria together believe in the EU's values," said Osmani-Sadriu and added that the Russian aggression in Ukraine has threatened these values. According to the Kosovar President, her country is facing challenges that are similar to those of many other European countries, mainly in the energy sector, economy and security. She asked for Bulgaria's support in waiving EU visas and for Kosovo's accession to the Council of Europe. Osmani-Sadriu pointed out that there are legal obstacles to the recognition of the Bulgarian minority but underscored that she would commit to taking concrete steps to remove these obstacles and recognize the Bulgarian minority.