Prishtina, 10 January 2022
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, welcomed the new Ambassador of the United States of America to Kosovo, Mr Jeffrey M. Hovenier.
He informed the Ambassador about the reforms undertaken by the Government, after the plebiscite victory on 14 February 2021, for the two main promises for jobs and justice. The February elections brought democratic legitimacy and political stability to our institutions, and currently the leaders of the three main institutions, the Presidency, the Assembly and the Government, enjoy over 50% of the trust of the citizens.
We ended 2021 with double-digit economic growth. Our exports have increased by 66%, budget revenues have increased by 30%, foreign direct investment by 53%, and we registered 10,000 new jobs in the economy last year, Prime Minister Kurti said.
The administration of over 1.67 million doses of vaccines was emphasized while talking about the situation with the pandemic. As originally planned, we have vaccinated 60% of people over the age of 16 with two doses and we started with the third dose, booster vaccines, the Prime Minister said, while emphasizing that we have not received Russian or Chinese vaccines.
The Prime Minister thanked the United States of America and President Biden for donating over half a million Pfizer vaccines.
We welcome and are encouraged by the fact that President Biden has declared corruption a threat to national security for the U.S., but also for democracy around the world”, the Prime Minister said. He expressed his commitment and that of the institutions to eradicate corruption and bring more equality and prosperity to the citizens.
Regarding the dialogue with Serbia, the Prime Minister stressed that we have been proactive and constructive, presenting proposals on how to move forward. He said that the issue of persons forcibly disappeared during the war in Kosovo and the opening of state and military archives of Serbia continue to be a priority in the dialogue.
We made it clear from the beginning that dialogue should be principled and respect the equality of the parties at the negotiating table. Prime Minister and Ambassador Hovenier agreed that mutual recognition should be at the centre of the future, legally binding agreement.
This year, the Kosovo Security Force was part of the co-deployment with U.S. troops in Kuwait, marking our first international peacekeeping mission. We were also part of the “Defender Europe 21”, a joint military exercise led by the U.S. Army, where Kosovo was among the 16 host countries participating with 330 soldiers. We have increased our investments by 50%, now amounting to 1.3% of Gross Domestic Product.
Ambassador Hovenier congratulated the Prime Minister on the progress made so far in the Republic of Kosovo and underlined the U.S. support especially for economic development, sustainable energy and education. He praised the good management and, as he said, the impressive response to the pandemic.
Prime Minister Kurti thanked the Ambassador for the continued support of the United States of America for Kosovo’s liberation, independence and state building.