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Intervention of H.E. Alfred Moisiu at the April 2022 Balkans Leadership Conference

Your Excellencies Honorable Presidents, Prime ministers and members of the Podgorica Club,

Honorable Mr. Talat Xhaferri, speaker of the Parliament of the North Macedonia Republic,

Honorable parliamentarians & representatives of civil society,

Distinguished Ambassadors for Peace, brothers and sisters,

As a member of Podgorica Club and as a host and in the quality of the Chairman of the High Peace Council for the Balkans, it is a special honor and pleasure for me to welcome you to this very important event that takes place in difficult times, when peace and security are seriously under threat.

This conference was made possible thanks to the successful cooperation between the Universal Peace Federation and the Podgorica Club, which on November 21 last year signed a mutual Cooperation Agreement. I am convinced that this cooperation will play an important role for peace and security in our region and beyond.

This is due to the well-known fact that both of these organizations have been established and are inspired to do their best to forge a spirit of understanding and cooperation in the Balkans, in the interest of strengthening and maintaining peace in the region.

I take this opportunity to express my gratitude and thanks to my old friends Presidents Vujanovic, Mesiç and Sejdiu, and to the Members of the Podgorica Club who are present with us today. I also greet Mr. Talat Xhaferri, Speaker of the Parliament of Northern Macedonia, I greet the Speaker of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Albanian Parliament and my old friend Mrs. Mimi Kodheli, who had the kindness to be here with us and to greet us on behalf of the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia and that of Albania.

Amongst us we have representatives of the martyred Bosnian people, as well as honorable representatives of the Serbian people, whom I thank for their participation, as well as for the contribution they give to the benefit of their people and of the Balkans as a whole.

I also thank the leaders of the European Universal Peace Federation who have always supported activities serving peace, security and sustainable development in the Balkans.

These days, we are all troubled by what is happening in Ukraine and we are aware that if we do not take the right measures now, the Balkans could easily be affected, and there are important indications that something like this could happen.

Even though still suffering from the open wounds resulting from the bloody wars that engulfed the Balkans in the 1990s, we are unfortunately witnessing the presence of an old mentality in the minds of some leaders in the Balkans, which can easily be used or misused to awaken and nurture the historical grudges between our peoples, whether ethnic or religious.

We must understand, accept and face this reality, which brings enormous challenges to the younger generation, who do not want to experience what the past generations experienced.

We must not allow the repetition of the painful stories in our region, and for this purpose we must cooperate more with each other and understand the historical responsibility that our generation has: that of leaving behind, once and for all, the resentment of the past.

For this, courageous, responsible and strong-willed leadership is definitely needed to take responsibility for the mistakes and tragedies of the past and to open new paths for the future, because we need each other more than ever.

It is clear that the aspiration of all the countries of the Western Balkans is their integration into the European Union, and I would like to call on to the European Union to accelerate the process of our countries' membership in the common European family.

We hear good words, but so far everything has remained at the same level. The responsibility for this blockage lies with the EU bureaucracy. Events and bitter experience show that time should be used well and delays and unrealized promises should be avoided.

The war in Ukraine, with the massacres being inflicted on innocent people in the middle of Europe in the 21st century, show that despite scientific developments and humanity’s achievements as a whole, the mentality and the way of solving problems have not changed much from those of past centuries. This requires from all of us more care, more work, more responsibility to maintain peace and understanding in our region, which doesn’t have a very pleasant history in this regard.

Despite our not having any official power, our word still has its weight for the good of our peoples. We need to raise our voices higher, as our work so far has given us the necessary credibility to be heard more and to be more understandable by our fellow citizens.

I wish this meeting of our Club to have success and accomplishments in attaining our peace-loving goals.

Thanking you all for participating, I wish this conference to send clear messages to all those who 'have ears to hear' and I am convinced that such gatherings serve the common aspiration of all the peoples in the Balkans that is a "Region of Peace, Harmony and Mutual Prosperity."

Thank you!

 

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