Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani. Photo: Urim Krasniqi/Prishtina Insight.

Kosovo Finally Invited to Biden’s Democracy Summit

After some confusion over whether Kosovo was attending or not, US President Joe Biden has invited Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani to the Summit for Democracy.

After almost two weeks after Kosovo failed to receive an invitation to US President Joe Biden’s virtual Democracy Summit, and after sharp reactions to that embarassment at home from the opposition, Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani on Monday announced she had  received an invitation to participate in the summit on December 9-10.

“We recognize and appreciate your partnership in working to build democratic and human rights-respecting societies that allow all citizens to thrive,” Biden’s invitation reads.

Osmani said that she received the sought-for invitation after her meetings last week in Washington, where it was announced that Kosovo would, in fact, be part of this summit.

The Kosovo President emphasized that she will present the achievements and challenges facing Kosovo to the summit and that together they will implement an ambitious plan for the next 12 months to further strengthen Kosovo’s democracy.

“I thank President Biden for the invitation to the Democracy Summit … and appreciation of the partnership offered by Kosovo to work towards building a democratic society that respects human rights”, the President announced on Facebook.

Initially, Kosovo was not invited to take part in the Democracy Summit, sparking a debate and blame game between the government of Albin Kurti and the opposition. After that, a large group of Kosovo NGOs sent a letter to the US authorities, urging the US to reconsider an invitation.

“We consider that the exclusion of Kosovo from the platform is further contributing to the isolation of Kosovo,” Agon Maliqi, one of the signatories of the letter, told BIRN.

On November 5, the US embassy confirmed to BIRN that Kosovo would not be a participant, on the grounds that not all US partners could be accommodated at this summit.

It confirmed this news after the American newspaper Politico published a map of the invited countries, on which it could be seen that Kosovo was not there.

Prime Minister Kurti played down the furore, insisting it was not a problem that Kosovo had not received an invitation and that Kosovo’s friendship with the US did not depend on it.

“There are some things that I believe are unshakable, such as partnership and alliance with the United States. This is not something that is held by the thread of a feather, it is deeper; even if we are not invited to a conference I do not believe it poses any problem,” he said. “There are many conferences, virtual and physical,” Kurti added on ATV.

The White House has announced that part of the summit will be about countries with developed or developing democracies, civil society and the private sector – without specifying the exact number of invitees.

More generally, the summit will discuss the advancement of democracy, the fight against corruption and the promotion of human rights.

15/11/2021 - 15:45

15 November 2021 - 15:45

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