Ambassador Kosnett’s Interview with RTV KIM, April 30, 2019
RTV KIM: Thank you Mr. Ambassador for coming here. You visited Gračanica and Parteš today. What are your messages and your major impressions from these visits?
Ambassador Kosnett: Well, it’s always useful for me to get outside the capital. I think you can’t understand any country, Jelena, just by taking to political leaders. You have to get out and talk to people in civil society and the business community. I have to say my main impression today is that people are working very hard to build an economic future in their communities, but there are many obstacles and frustrations.
RTV KIM: Did you have meetings with mayors? Whom else did you have meetings with and what was the actual purpose of today’s visits? If I may follow up, what was the biggest concern of the people that you have spoken with today?
Ambassador: I met with the mayors in Gracanica and in Partes, I met with some very impressive women who are working on a US government funded—USAID funded—project in the agricultural sector. I also met with some small businesses owners in the Serb community. I think that many people are frustrated, not only the people I met with today, many people are frustrated by the obstacles to economic growth and economic development in the country. Frankly, I think that concern about the country’s economic future is something that members of the majority community and the minority communities share. As a foreign diplomat I want to do what I can to help encourage economic self-sufficiency for Kosovo. I think there are a lot of very talented people here, in particular I meet a lot of talented young people who could be successful anywhere in the world. But, if they don’t see economic opportunity—if they don’t see jobs—if they don’t see the opportunity to create companies—I wonder how long they’re going to stay here. I think this is a problem that all of us need to be concerned about.
RTV KIM: What is your message to the Serbian community, especially to people who live south of the Ibar River, especially in villages and small, isolated communities? Is there any chance that the Serbs will come back to live in town and cities in Kosovo any time soon? How come that urban return never happened?
Ambassador: I want to be optimistic about the future of the Serb community in Kosovo. I think it is important that Serbs continue to live here. It is also important that they feel welcome. There needs to be a future in Kosovo where the members of all communities can feel at home—that they feel that they can live and work and worship in peace, in both countries, in all countries in the region. I think that just by living here and building a future for their children, the members of the Serb community here are making a real contribution to Kosovo’s future. You know, Jelena, for an American, living in a multi-cultural, religiously diverse country is a normal thing, and I’ve often said that one of the things that America and Kosovo have in common is the diversity of peoples who live in their countries. And, I hope that that will always be the case.
RTV KIM: OK, thank you Mr. Ambassador.
Ambassador: Thank you very much.