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Intervention of Mr. Erion Veliaj on the occasion of the inauguration of the Balkans Peace Embassy

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to sunny Tirana. You can't believe this is the middle of November and it is nice and bright as it is well deserved for a beautiful building which is the Embassy of peace for the Balkans. I was delighted to see so many old friends and new friends in town, and of course, you know President Moisiu being the godfather of all of us, to me also a mentor and advisor, and encourager in chief. But to all of you a wonderful friend. Someone, like many of the statesman we have here, who has demonstrated that the mission does not finish with the terms of your job. Actually, the mission carries on beyond the terms of your job.

And I think this is the same truth that we are witnessing today, from the President of Croatia, President of Montenegro, President of Bosnia, and to all our wonderful friends, a wonderful big welcome to those who have come as far away as Korea and Asia. Thanks for making the journey. We prepared the beautiful weather to make it worthwhile for all of you who came several thousand miles to be here, but also to our wonderful neighbours, the neighbours that made the journey, you know, within the Balkans, but sometimes also within Albania, because I know there's a few chapters of the Peace Embassy and the family movement across Albania as well.

You look at the map and you realise that we are too few to be divided. We are too few to have conflicts. We are too few to afford more wars. It makes my heart burst with joy to find out that in Tirana within two years, in record speed, we have an embassy which is on embassy row; the US Embassy is down in the valley; and then we have several embassies going further up the hill.

But I think we are here to finalise the opening of probably the most important embassy that will include a lot of the Member States, which is the Peace Embassy for the Balkans and in the outskirts of Tirana.

Now, the challenge will be not only that this becomes a home, and this becomes a house, for all the statesmen and stateswomen that we have here, but hopefully it becomes a breeding ground for future statesmen and stateswomen. And we have a fantastic opportunity.

Next year, Tirana will be European Youth Capital 2022, so it will be an amazing opportunity to also open this home and this embassy to young people who can start their relationships, their networks. They can build their plans and their projects already at an early age. Those who become friends in childhood have a very low probability to go to war when they grow up.

And like Albert Einstein used to say, you can't build peace by force. It has to come with understanding. So, I really hope this is a wonderful House of understanding and I really hope that will bring a lot of blessings and joy to our city and to our wonderful neighbours. Thank you very much.

And to conclude, President Moisiu is a perfectionist; you know he's looking at the details. I also notice there's a wire here that still needs to be connected. You know there is the sewage canal that still needs to have some asphalt once the gravel has settled. There's still a few wires hanging there so the light is not [working yet].

But, on a positive note, think of it like Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. the big cathedral in Barcelona: 200 years and still not finished! So, it's meant to be a never-ending project where there will always be a need to improve and to fix [something]. And peace is like the Sagrada Familia; piece is a never-ending project. It always needs a few wires still to be to be connected.

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