PRIŠTINA — A U.S. State Department official stated on Wednesday in Priština that Kosovo was “an independent and sovereign state”.
As such, said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker, “it has the right to establish the rule of law in the entire territory, including the north”.
The north of the province is predominantly inhabited by Serbs who reject the authority of the Kosovo Albanian government in Priština.
“Kosovo is an independent and sovereign state which has the right to extend its rule over the entire territory. This is about the rule of law, and that is the key, fundamental concept not only here, but in the whole Europe,” Reeker said following the meeting with Kosovo Albanian Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.
He underlined that Kosovo’s “territorial integrity and sovereignty is undeniable”, and that it must “eliminate lawlessness in the north or in any other part of the territory”.
According to Reeker, EU facilitator for the Belgrade-Priština dialogue Robert Cooper “also made it clear that there will be no going back to the status quo”.
Now, both sides should return to the dialogue and we are looking forward to the next round of the EU-facilitated talks scheduled for early September, Reeker said.
He added that Thaci and ministers in the Kosovo government “assured him that they are committed to the rule of law and welfare of all Kosovo citizens”.
When asked whether the U.S. support to Priština to extend its rule over all parts of the territory can be interpreted as the concrete support of Washington to the moves that the Kosovo government is making in the north, Reeker said that there was “no need for interpretation since Kosovo is an independent and sovereign state and it has the right to establish the rule of law in the whole territory”.
He went on to state that “borders in the region are final, and that they will not be changed so the partition of Kosovo is not an option”.
Apart from representatives of the Priština authorities, Reeker will also have meetings with representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Raška and Prizren in the SPC monastery of Gracanica, near the Serb enclave in central Kosovo, it has been announced.
Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians in early 2008 unilaterally declared independence, but Serbia rejected it as an illegal act of secession.