During his visit in Slovenia, Chairman of Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) Mr. Ilir Meta was presented with the “Most Positive Personality in Foreign Policy for 2010” Award by IFIMES, the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies, in Ljubljana.
During the awards ceremony, on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of IFIMES, the award was presented to Mr. Meta by former Croatian President Mr. Stjepan Mesic, at the same time Honorary President of IFIMES.
Mr. Meta was praised as the most positive political personality for 2010, when he served as Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister, for his positive and concrete contribution in exercising the foreign policy of Albania and for his personal and institutional influence in strengthening good regional and neighborly relations amongst the countries of the Western Balkans. IFIMES praised Meta’s vision at the head of Albanian Diplomacy as a political personality with a regional weight and with a clear purpose to create a more open, positive and integrated region.
During his speech, Mr. Meta said:
“Thank you to IFIMES and President Mesic for the great honor in presenting me with this award in recognition of our efforts to achieve a region without barriers, in peace and stability and with long term prosperity.
I am proud that Albania has always practiced a very positive and constructive foreign policy towards its neighbors, contributing for a better region. We believe that our constructive policy comes first of all, from our regional weight and responsibility, as a country surrounded by Albanians living in neighboring countries, and secondly, because we serve our national interest with pragmatism.
Better relations and less barriers we have between our countries, better it will be for the lives of all our citizens. Albania has excellent relations with all its neighbors. We have removed barriers with Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo. Our citizens now travel only with ID cards to these countries. We have also drastically improved our infrastructure in order to facilitate better movement of people and goods between our countries.
Relations between Albania & Serbia are key for the future of our region. This is why I visited Belgrade 2 years ago and the Preshevo Valley, in order to give a message of hope and cooperation.
Kosovo is now independent. The European Union is preparing a roadmap for visa liberalization and a feasibility study for a Stabilization Association Agreement for the future integration of Kosovo. I praise the recent agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, but now it is important that its points are implemented on the ground, with mutual respect.
The future of all our countries is in the European Union. We don’t need nationalism, no borders and no hatred. We need more love, more human & economic exchanges and an integrated region with a safe future in Europe.
As politicians, we have the responsibility to stand up to the vision of our common future and take difficult and responsible decisions, which in the end can only serve prosperity and stability for all our people. This is why now we should act with courage and pragmatism. We should all look to the future of our children, not to the past of our grandfathers. I thank you for this great honor and appreciation”.
Other awards were also presented to Professor Dr. Ernest Petrič, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia, who received the award for his lifetime achievements; Zoran Živković, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, who received the award for his outstanding contribution to promoting democratic changes in Serbia;. Jelko Kacin, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the EP Delegation for South-East Europe, who received the award for "The most visible European politician in the West Balkans"; and Amir Ahmić, the liaison officer with the Hague International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, who received the award for "his contribution to promoting truth, justice and reconciliation".
* Further information on IFIMES and the ceremony can be found online