President of the Republic of Kosovo, Dr Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu delivers a lecture at the Arab Center for Research and Policy StudiesIn her first official visit to Qatar and the Arab region in her capacity as President of the Republic of Kosovo, Dr Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu delivered a lecture at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha on 28 March 2022.  She warned against the spill over effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine into the Western Balkan countries, which are still healing the wounds of the past. Alleging that Russia uses Serbia as a “proxy” to expand its influence in the region, she called for prompt international community action before it is too late.  

A scholar and Professor of international law, Dr Osmani delivered a lecture titled “Building Enduring Peace and Security in Southeast Europe.”  She recalled the humiliating “Apartheid” treatment imposed by Serbia on Kosovo for decades, leading to Slobodan Milosevic regime’s ethnic massacre in 1999. The Kosovo war claimed the lives of 13,000 Kosovo civilians, leaving more than 1600 missing persons and deep wounds.

President Osmani lamented that the perpetrators of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” in the Yugoslavian war roam free, persistently denying the atrocities they committed, while Kosovan victims still lie in mass graves in Serbia. She maintained that the long overdue justice for the victims in Kosovo is a precondition for sustainable, rather than superficial, peace. The President also said the intervention of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999 saved her country from further atrocities. Since then, the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) has been deployed in her country and is still ensuring the protection of the population, and deterring hostilities from neighbouring Serbia.

President Osmani highlighted Kosovo’s journey since the declaration of independence in 2008, describing the young republic as a “vibrant democracy” with thriving institutions and the most advanced constitution in Europe regarding minority rights. Stressing that over 100 nations have recognized her country so far, she asserted that Kosovo’s independence is a “done deal,” and its sovereignty has become an irreversible reality, despite Serbia’s denial. The declaration of independence of the Republic of Kosovo was made unilaterally in 2008.  Serbia, Russia, China amongst other countries still reject it. However, the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice in 2010, that Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia did not constitute a violation of international law. For lasting peace in Southeast Europe, President Osmani argued that Kosovo needs further recognition and support from the international community and “a seat at the table”. It also needs to join international organisations, including the European Union and NATO, in addition to United Nations agencies.

Against this backdrop, President Osmani Serbia acknowledged the support her country has been receiving from Qatar, especially during times of hardship. She noted that she had discussed the opportunities for increased cooperation with her country with the leadership of Qatar. Turning to her participation in the 2022’s edition of the Doha Forum, she expressed the utmost appreciation for the forum as it provides small countries such as Kosovo with the opportunity to make their voices heard in the international arena.  

Following her lecture, the President answered questions from the audience, which included members of the diplomatic corps, academics, and the media. The event was also attended by over 40 Arab PhD candidates from universities across Europe, Australia and the US participating in the third Arab Graduate Students Conference, which was organized by the Arab Center, with support from the Doha Institute.