Townterview with Students, Women Leaders, and Members of Civil Society

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
National and University Library
Pristina, Kosovo
October 13, 2010

MS. REPIC: Well, Madam Secretary, finally, it’s very glad to have you here. For the beginning, I would really like to hear from you your opinion, your thought about the biggest challenges that Kosovo actually is facing right now, having in mind that we will have very soon dialogue with Belgrade, then we will let – regional cooperation is necessary, and as well, European integration. So how are those processes actually important for every citizen, no matter of ethnicity?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s an excellent question. And I want to start by saying how excited I am to be here in Pristina, to have a chance to come back to Kosovo as Secretary of State and to have this opportunity to have this conversation with all of you, particularly with the young people of this country who represent the future and who are, in your numbers, the youngest country in Europe. And so that’s exciting to me.

And I think that I see the way that Kosovo is moving forward to be very encouraging. You are building up your democratic institutions, which is very important. You’re about to have another election which needs to be as strong and transparent and free as possible with as much participation. You are working on economic development, privatizing some of the inefficient state enterprises like electricity and telecommunications. So on the democratic, constitutional, economic front, you’re making progress and the United States stands ready to help you continue that progress.

I think there needs to be improvements in services, education, healthcare, other kinds of services that the people of Kosovo are looking for, and again, we will be there to help you. I am very pleased at how there is a commitment to integration and pluralism within Kosovo. I just met with the elected Serb mayors in municipalities here and talked through with them what they’re doing to make a difference in the lives of the people that they represent. And as you said, there will be an important dialogue, starting with Serbia, that will begin to solve some of the remaining problems that still exist, which is very important for both countries so that both countries can move toward European integration.

And then in the broader region, I think that all of the countries in the Balkans have an opportunity to set a real example for the rest of Europe of how you can have integrated societies where ethnic or religious differences are tolerated and permitted to live side-by-side with people making a contribution, no matter who their parents are or what their history might be. And I hope that we will see Kosovo moving toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

The United States does not have a vote in the European Union, but we believe strongly that all the countries of the Balkans should be starting on a path toward European integration, beginning with visa liberalization for people in Kosovo, particularly young people, so that you can travel, study, work, really tell the story of Kosovo beyond your own boundaries.

So although I know the road ahead is challenging, you’ve come such a long way. And what you have overcome and what your parents and your grandparents have had to deal with really puts you in a strong position to build your own country to be a model for yourselves and for others in the region, and then to play an active role in the future in Europe. And that’s what I’m going to commit myself to help you to achieve.

MR. QENA: Madam Secretary, if I can follow up on that issue, part of your visit in Europe and in this region is to speed up, as you said, this process of European integration. But how does one overcome this condition in which Brussels is actually moving away from this integration, from this expansion – with this expansion fatigue? How – what do you see your role in overcoming this? It just seems that, yes, the criteria to get into the EU are strict, but they’ve been overlooked for a few countries. Would you see such a similar situation for this region as well? Is that something that has to happen, or is it being delayed, possibly putting this region at risk again?

Date: 10/13/2010 Description: Secretary Clinton speaks at a town hall meeting/interview at the National and University Library in Pristina, Kosovo, Wednesday Oct.13, 2010. © AP ImageSECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, I will be going to Brussels this evening and I will be reporting to my European colleagues what I have seen in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Serbia and in Kosovo, and how strongly I personally – and as Secretary of State on behalf of my government – feel that the process of European integration is not complete without the Balkans. There must be a united, whole Europe, and it will take time. It does take time to meet all the requirements of the EU. That’s not something you can do a shortcut for. But it is a process that we believe strongly is in Europe’s interest and in the United States’ interest.

Now, in the last few years, because of the economic challenges that Europe and the rest of the world have faced, it’s natural that people would want to catch a breath and to say, “Wait a minute, we have a lot to do. If you were in the EU now, you’d be worried about Greece and some of the other economic issues that the EU has had to deal with.” But I don’t think that’s a permanent position. I think it’s a necessary reaction to the conditions that exist economically today.

Because the whole idea, since the Second World War, that European leaders have had to create a whole, united Europe at peace was a revolutionary idea. I mean, when you think about not just the 20th century, but centuries back, Europe has been the scene of so many wars, so much conflict, so many terrible tragedies. And so after the Second World War, very visionary leaders said we cannot let this happen again, and therefore, we must work to unify Europe. And I do not believe that vision is complete without the Balkans.

So you will find a strong advocate in me, constantly telling my European colleagues and friends that they must continue to reach out. And I think you’ll see Croatia moving; they’ve been on this track for a while. There may well be an invitation at the end of this month to Serbia to begin the process. So I do not think it’s over, although you cannot shortcut it. So patience is a virtue in personal as well as national affairs, but persistence pays off. And the more that Kosovo reforms, the more you are ready to stand in line and say, “I want to be part of Europe, whole, free, united, stable, at peace, prosperous.” The more prepared you are, the faster the time will go.

MR. REPIC: Well, the Kosovars would say that they are prepared. They did whatever Europe, Brussels told them, and the Western world told them. At the same time, they see Serbia moving closer to Brussels despite not fulfilling the criteria, despite not handing in war criminals. So they – do you think that they’re right in feeling that they’ve been neglected?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t. I think that until the International Court of Justice advisory opinion was rendered just a few weeks ago, there were those – not us in the United States – but you know there were those who had some questions about Kosovo’s independence. So I think the clock starts ticking – even though you may feel the pressure to move more quickly, I think the clock starts ticking now. And many of the reforms that you are undertaking – this upcoming election, how it’s conducted – and the chairwoman of the election commission, one of your supreme court judges, is here with us today – everything that you’re doing now will get a lot of attention. And I think that’s really the opportunity for Kosovo to step up and claim your place among nations.

I will continue to work for even more nations to recognize Kosovo. I think we’re up to 70 now, but we want many more. This is a process. I guess my strongest advice is stay the course. Stay on this path that you are on now. Make the changes that you know you must make. Reconcile with one another. Let’s deal with the continuing problems in the north so that your Serbian citizens in the north feel fully integrated. Let’s have the dialogue with Serbia. There’s a list, and I keep checking these things off the list that Kosovo has accomplished. And that strengthens the argument that someone like me can make to the European Union.

MS. REPIC: Thank you. Thank you for these remarks. And now, as you said in the beginning, we have so many people here, young people with – that we have some other with different backgrounds. Let’s now hear the – we – I would like to give the floor to Flander. Flander, audience who wants to say something now.

MS. SYLA: Thanks a lot. Madam Secretary, we have many, many people here who came up with questions tackling many fields of interest. I would like to start it off with something you reminded us once. We were told how it takes a village to raise a child. I would like to ask you now, if only we could be told, what would it take for the grown-up children of Kosovo who turned out into the young Europeans to raise all the villages that would make the statehood of our state?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a wonderful question, Flander, because you are absolutely right that the young people that I’m looking at right now and all whom you represent really hold the keys to the future. And I would offer just some ideas for you to consider. First, demand a lot from your education institutions. You deserve the very best of educations. And I want to have more cooperation between our universities in the United States and your institutions here in Kosovo. I want to have more exchange programs. Some of you may have already been on one of our American exchange programs to study English, to study government. I want that to be more of an opportunity. But I don’t think you should just go to the United States; we should have more exchange programs with Europe and other places in the world so that you can tell the story of Kosovo. Every one of you is a messenger about your country, your village, if you will.

I think young people bear the responsibility for bringing about integration and reconciliation. It is so important that you reach out across the lines between the majority and the minority in Kosovo, and think of creative ways of doing it. You can do it in person, you can do it over the internet, but look for ways to find common ground with your Kosovar and Serbian young people counterparts.

I think there’s an enormous amount of political activity that young people can engage in. I hope every one of you, regardless of your political affiliation, will be active in the upcoming election. It’s very important that you have a voice in the leadership choices of the future, and to be active in not just electoral politics, but civil society. There are so many areas that need your attention. I’m sure there are environmental issues in Kosovo. There are issues about people with disabilities. There are issues that affect human rights. There are many ways to become an active participant to try to improve the lives of the people of Kosovo.

So there are many ideas, but we want to be your partners, we want to work, through our Embassy and through Washington, to assist you in being young leaders. Not everybody will run for office, but every one of you in the media, in business, in academics, in civil society, in the press – every one of you has a role to play and we want to help you find that role so that you can make a contribution to your country’s future.

MS. SYLA: Prior to your visit, we’ve had a webpage and a fanpage in Facebook launched by the embassy with many, many questions. And one of those who posed a question for you is already here, and I would like to pass the mike on to him so that we can hear his question.

QUESTION: My name is Arben Sahiti. My question is that European Union has never been a truly reliable partner for Kosovo and our quest into independence. What is U.S. Government doing to ensure that the upcoming negotiation led by EU will be in line with U.S. foreign policy when it comes to the issue of Kosovo?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are trying to make every consideration possible so that this dialogue will be a dialogue between equals. When the representatives of Kosovo sit with the representatives of Serbia, we want to have an agenda and a framework for the negotiations that will help lead to resolution of any of the remaining issues, like missing persons, for example, internally displaced persons. There’s a lot of issues that are not in the headlines, but are in the daily lives of people.

The United States will play a role in this. We are going to be working with our European colleagues to design the process so that you will have confidence that your views are being heard and respected. And we want to work with our EU partners so that they will be more aware of and sensitive to the needs and concerns of Kosovo.

So I think that we’ve turned a page. The International Court of Justice opinion turned the page. And it was such a resounding decision in favor of your right to declare independence that the doubts people had – because it wasn’t, in the minds of some, as settled as it was in our minds, but now it is. So I think that is the best answer. We start from there and then we build a firmer foundation so that it’s not only the United States which is your strong partner, but the European Union as well.

MS. SYLA: We do have another question over here.

QUESTION: Honorable Secretary of State, thank you for your decision and dedication to listen to our voices. My name is Viza and I come from Farizai, from a city where, on November 23rd, 1999, President Clinton promised to the children of Kosovo that America will stand by them in every step of the way. It was a time there was a big hope for us. Those children now became teenagers and they see around a lot of other children who are still living in poverty, and their main concern is whether their mother will have something to feed them today and whether their fathers will get the jobs.

Well – we see you today here, and all eyes of Kosovo, looking a new hope that you are bringing here. And all hearts are beating with the same rhythm as yours. How can you help us? Will you help us so we could finally get – see the biggest and the brightest and the most beautiful parts of democracy and a new economy? Can the great American nation assist us in our struggle to restore our hope and turn this country to be, for us, worth educating, working, and living for? And what can we do so in the world’s eyes, we can justify better that back in 1999, Kosovo was worth fighting for to justify better the existence of a newborn country called Kosovo, and to justify better that we can be a part of united Europe?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that the United States, as my husband promised, has been your principal partner, supporter, advocate, and champion. The people of the United States have spent many, many millions of dollars in support of Kosovo. But as you well remember, it’s taken 10 years to establish a firm, internationally recognized foundation for the nation of Kosovo. During that time, the leadership and the people of Kosovo have done so much. But there is still a long way to go.

Your economy has made some changes, but not enough. There needs to be still significant reform to open up your economy. There need to be agreements with all of the neighbors, which is what I hope will come from the dialogue with Serbia, so that you will have access to more trade and economic opportunities. Some of the countries, as you know, will not recognize exports from Kosovo because they did not recognize your independence.

So as frustrating as this may be – and especially 10 years in a life is a long time; 10 years in the life of a country is a short time. So we have to reconcile the need to make as much progress as possible to see differences in the daily lives of people, to get more jobs, to get more services, to demonstrate that democracy delivers. And I spoke at length about this with the acting president, with the prime minister, with the mayors, with others whom I have met today. And it’s like the glass is half full – not half empty, half full – but we have to work to fill it all the way up.

And I think that the United States, through our Embassy, through USAID, has provided and will continue to provide economic assistance, assistance for all kinds of programs. And then the people of Kosovo themselves are really starting, in my view, to stand up for yourselves, to take your own future in hand. Any country that comes out of war and conflict has to have time to recover. It’s such a traumatic experience. And you had been through so much. I remember visiting the refugee camps across the border. In fact, I saw somebody today who I saw in the refugee camps when I was there 10 years ago. That’s a very short time, although if you’re a child, it could be your whole life.

So part of our sense of urgency is to help your government, to help your private sector, to help all of your civil society do even more to help yourselves. That’s our goal.

QUESTION: Hello, welcome. My name is Yeta. I run Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. The EU is urging Kosovars to enter dialogue with Serbia as soon as possible --


QUESTION: -- as soon as that practically is possible. On the other hand, is it in the best interest of Kosovars to enter the talks immediately after the elections are over, or is it more of an interest of Kosovars to first improve its position in the north, bring the north under control much more than it is today? Would this improve the Kosovars’ position in the talks to bring the north under the control more than it is today?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I can only offer you my opinion, because ultimately, that is a decision for Kosovo to make. My opinion is that the status of the north is resolved. And once that sinks in, that people of the north will have to recognize that they have to integrate into Kosovo, that they must look to Pristina, that there cannot be any longer parallel institutions, that there has to be a commitment to working together as many of the Serbian communities to the south have done.

Therefore, I think it is in Kosovo’s interest to begin the dialogue as soon as possible on issues that are at first perhaps easier, like missing persons. I mean, there is a joint interest in both Serbia and Kosovo to deal with that. But to make it clear that you are having this dialogue about how to work – two countries that border each other – on your relations between the two of you, not on your internal decisions.

At the same time, I do think we have to help you do more in the north to speed the process of integration. And I met with the representatives from Mitrovica today and they recognize that there isn’t any – there’s not going to be any change in status. That decision has been made. The boundaries of Kosovo are set. So what we have to do is work out the best way to integrate the citizens of the north. And perhaps there is more that could be done more quickly, but I don’t think that should delay this dialogue.

You see, from my view, the minute Kosovo and Serbia start this dialogue, you are two nations on an equal basis talking about the kinds of things bordering nations do. The United States meets with Canada all the time about border problems, border issues, environmental problems. We meet with Mexico all the time. So I think it’s in Kosovo’s interest to start this dialogue. And we will work with your government and with the Government of Serbia and the European Union to design it in such a way that everyone accepts the framework of it.

MODERATOR: As we discuss the topic of the dialogue, we have another question.

QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, it’s an honor to have you amongst us. My name is Engjellushe Morina and I speak for Kosovar Stability Initiative, a think tank based here in Pristina.

I have a question, if I may, and it’s related to your declaration last night in Serbia, your press statement. You said that Serbia will be not just an EU member state, but a leading EU member state. Now, this is a country where right wing extreme groups are alive and kicking. Only a few hours later, the – Serbia’s nationals destructed a football game in Genoa in Italy. A few days earlier, half of the capital was almost demolished to pieces because of the gay parade. This is a country with territorial appetites. Its president went to visit Milorad Dodik in Bosnia during electoral campaign. And I am just wondering, is it not too early to pamper Serbia? Because to be blunt, I just shiver at the thought of Serbia as a loose cannon again. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that the idea of Serbia being in the European Union is one of the ways to prevent your fears from being realized. I think integrating Serbia, integrating the Balkans, which has been, as you know better than I, historically the site of a lot of conflict and a lot of extremist activity, is in the interests of the people of the Balkans. And I do hope that Serbia moves toward EU membership and becomes a leading – not the leading, but a leading force for European integration, because then many of these issues that you are alluding to will be taken care of.

Now, I thought it was very important that the Serbian police defended the marchers in the pride parade on Sunday. If you remember some years ago when there was a pride parade in Belgrade, the police did not defend the marchers. This time, they stood for the rights of people in a very vulnerable population to stand up for themselves. That was a big change. In fact, the police were the ones who were injured by the extremist protestors. You cannot, I don’t think, judge what the future will hold until we see it unfold.

There’s no arguing about the past. We know what the past held. But at the same time that President Tadic went to visit Dodik, the Serbian parliament, I think for the first time any parliament in European history, passed a resolution apologizing for Srebrenica and recognizing the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now, these steps have to be viewed as positive steps. The reality will demonstrate itself, but certainly we are seeing some very positive moves and statements out of Serbia that we wish to support and commend because we want Serbia to stay on that path. And so you have a choice. I mean, if Serbia remains out of the European Union, not integrated, then the positive trends could be overwhelmed by the negative, by the extremist voices. If Serbia chooses the path of EU membership, I think it’s much better for Serbia and for Kosovo and for the Balkans.

So will the choices immediately end extremist activity at soccer games? I don’t think so. Probably some of the worst activity at soccer games comes from the United Kingdom with their rather rowdy and sometimes crazy soccer fans. But I think what you have to look at is the entire picture, and there are many positive signs. And I believe that it’s important to reinforce those positive signs and to try to move Serbia toward integration, which will be good, in my opinion, for Kosovo and for Serbia.

MODERATOR: Next question.

QUESTION: Okay. Good afternoon. My question for the Secretary of State is: What do you think? Is it the same attitude for Kosovo as it was in administration led by President Bush and now in administration of President Barack Obama?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I can only speak for our Administration, and we are very committed to Kosovo. The United States has been committed to Kosovo for 15 – 17 years, a long time now. And we – I think that’s a bipartisan, even nonpartisan commitment. The aid that we’ve provided to Kosovo continued from my husband’s administration to President Bush’s administration to President Obama’s administration. I have a very personal commitment to Kosovo. So maybe that’s something that’s a little more tangible, a little bit more that you can feel, because it’s not just official and formal; it’s personal and emotional. But our government’s policy has remained the same.

MODERATOR: And if we could, another question over here.

QUESTION: Hello. My name is Ardian Hoxha, founder of the American School of Kosova. My question is a little related to Viza’s question, because I also believe that as this whole process is going on and the United States and Eastern – and Western Europe are working towards solving the problems between Serbia and Kosovo that the economies of both countries and the region are going down. And as we know, the unemployment rate in Kosovo is the highest in the region, if not among the highest in the world. When can we, as a people of Kosovo, expect more American investment, more direct investment, not only through supporting different programs, but business? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think there are three answers to that. First, there has to be confidence by American and other investors that the business climate is friendly to business, which means you have to tackle corruption; you have to tackle organized crime, which is a problem in some parts of Kosovo; you have to continue the economic reforms that will lead to a more open economy.

Second, I think we have to do more to generate what are called “small businesses” or “micro-businesses.” I think there are a lot of entrepreneurial people in Kosovo who can’t get access to credit to start or expand their own businesses. So we need to look at ways of helping you find credit for more small businesses. There’s the big business that might come in, but actually, more jobs over the long run are created by many small businesses starting and growing. So I would like the advice of you about how we can do more to help small businesses in Kosovo.

And finally, you need to finish privatizing state industries. I know it’s a debate in your parliament. I know there are some who are worried about privatizing the phone companies, privatizing the electric companies, but it’s been our experience that privatizing companies will open up competition, will provide more jobs over the long run. There are tourist sites in Kosovo that now that we’ve got firmly the independence decision and there’s peace and stability in Kosovo, we can start working to get people to know about.

I think that now is the time that we could be holding investment conferences between Kosovo and investors in the United States. As you know, there are many successful Kosovar and Albanian Americans – every Greek and French restaurant in New York is run by somebody from either Kosovo or Albania, it seems like. Every time I go to one, that’s what they come and tell me. So we need to be looking for successful business people in the United States to help broker understanding and work with businesses here doing business training, mentoring, entrepreneurial activity.

And don’t forget the internet. I mean, the internet can give you a market globally. The internet can put your business, literally, on the world map. And it’s very cheap to do that. When I was a senator from New York, many parts of New York, particularly upstate New York away from New York City, are very poor – high unemployment, not very many businesses. And I worked to put small businesses on the internet because there are ways that you can make more money if you have a bigger market than just in your local village or community.

So we have lots of ideas and we’re ready to share those ideas, but there are certain steps that your government has to take and that your business community must take to break monopolies, open up competition, open up the market, and really let the entrepreneurial energy of the people of Kosovo start making money and putting people to work.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Actually, I just wanted to raise one question about the boundaries. When you say that northern Kosovo, the boundaries are set, we’ve heard from Moscow and more recently from Brussels saying that, well, if the three sides agree upon it, Belgrade and Pristina, well, it’s up to them really. Is that something that is viable, that if Pristina and Belgrade agree on changing the boundaries, that could happen?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that if there are any disputed areas along the boundary, which I’m not aware of so I cannot offer you an opinion on that, but I think that the general boundary is well known; it just has to be accepted.

QUESTION: That’s very clear.

MODERATOR: We are kind of approaching toward the end, so let’s have some kind of conclusions maybe. Is – I mean, is Kosovo on the right track?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think so. But really, it’s more what you think. Do you think Kosovo is on the right track? (Laughter.) Because you’re the ones who have to keep it on that track and kind of power – be the engines to move it along that track. I think you are. But that doesn't mean it’s going to be easy. It doesn't mean it’ll happen overnight, despite the fact that you feel very impatient. But you have to build a country and it has to be day by day, step by step. But I think you’re on the right track to do that.

MR. QENA: Before we run off, you made a short stopover in Pristina to see the statue of – (laughter) --

MODERATOR: Do you like it? Do you like it? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have to say it’s quite a statue. And my husband – it still looks like he has bronze colored hair, which I like. (Laughter.) Because when I met him – you know we’ve been married as of Monday 35 years, so when I met him when we were in law school, he had very brownish, reddish hair. And the statue reminds me of that, so of course I like the statue. (Laughter.) Nobody should paint it white. Don’t paint it white. Keep it that color. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Okay. So definitely, I mean, final messages both for the Government of Kosovo, for Serbian leaders, no matter whether they are in the north or southern part of Kosovo, so – and generally for Albanians, Serbs, and other ethnicities, what could be your, like, final and the most important messages?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The United States, starting with my husband, has made a very big bet on your future. We did it despite the naysayers who said you would never get to this point. We did it despite the foot-dragging from others that didn’t want to see you move toward the recognition of your right to claim independence. We did it because we believed that you could build this nation and this better future.

I am optimistic about your future. I hope that you are too, and I hope that particularly the young people will find ways not only to build your own personal future, but to contribute to your nation’s future. The United States will stay with you; we are your partner, we are your friend. We will provide you assistance and support. But the work has to be done here by your government, but most importantly by your people. You have to demand the changes that will make your lives better and the improvements that people will be able to see in their daily lives.

But if you stay on this course, I am confident that you will see results and I am confident that you will be part of Europe, and that as part of Europe your potential is unlimited. So please be as positive and as optimistic about yourselves as my husband and I are about you. Thank you. (Applause.)

MR. QENA: We can save a bit on the applause because we just got another five extra minutes. (Laughter.) So if anyone’s got another question --

A PARTICIPANT: One question more, maybe --

MODERATOR: You just saved me, so thank you. I’m going to another question right now.

QUESTION: Dear Madam Secretary, so a pleasure to have you here and I feel I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to meet and discuss with you, particularly because I wanted to say what an incredible role model you are to all the young women and girls, not just in Kosovo but all around the world. Actually, in 2008, I was working as a reporter in New York City for Women’s eNews and I got to cover your race for the presidency with – by focusing on how you were empowering women, young women leaders throughout the U.S. But it’s disheartening to say that that context is completely different from the presence of political leaders in Kosovo, where the lack of – also where the lack of media to utilize the potential to initiate social transformation, there’s a lack of media utilizing that. And that is because a very core and fundamental value of democracy, freedom of expression, is often threatened.

So I would love to hear your views and maybe what your message would be, not to just to journalists and editors, but Kosovar institutions in particular, with regard to freedom of expression, because those institutions are not just responsible for respecting but also for promoting such a core value. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me respond on two points. First on freedom of expression, we are absolutely convinced that freedom of expression is an important value, but it’s also a necessary tool to build a vibrant democracy. So we support greater sources of expression and openness of expression and different voices being heard, not just in politics but in society as well.

But again, I would point you toward the internet. Use the internet for those freedom of expression opportunities, for your voices to be heard. And I would, of course, hope that the government would be very supportive of freedom of expression, because it is one of the core values of any democratic nation.

And my final point is on women. Half the population needs to participate fully for the nation to be as successful as it can be. Women who are able to contribute in business, in academia, in journalism, in government, in civil society, are a real treasure of this country as with any country. So if there are any remaining barriers to women’s participation or empowerment, those need to be slowly but surely removed and need to be part of the reform process that the country goes through. Because I know that there are still some – maybe not legal barriers so much as attitude barriers about what women should or should not do. That’s true in many places. But it is an obstacle to the kind of progress that needs to be made.

So I hope that more and more women like the women leaders that are sitting over there whom I met with earlier, I hope more women, particularly young women, find a way to express themselves and contribute and fulfill leadership roles, because Kosovo needs all of the talent that you can gather in order to deal with the challenges that you face. And I am confident that women will make that contribution.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Very important messages to us.


MODERATOR: It was very glad to have you here, and thank you very much, Madam Secretary.

MR. QENA: It’s been a pleasure, Madam Secretary.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

PRN: 2010/T34-7